What the NBA Could Learn from the World's Most Popular Sport

LaMar GibsonContributor IJune 10, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04:  NBA Commissioner David Stern speaks to the media before the start of Game One of the 2009 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic at Staples Center on June 4, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Given my lack of interest in the NBA finals, I've begun thinking about the current state of the NBA. More specifically, how the NBA could get rid of some of the dreadful mediocre product it has been pushing out as professional basketball as of late. So I begin thinking about how the NBA could improve itself in a viable, legitimate manner. Who knew that the answer actually lies in the sport all but Americans love?

The thing that I think that the NBA could learn from soccer (or football or futbol) is regulations and promotions. To inform the uninitiated, non-American, soccer leagues (i.e. good soccer leagues) typically have several different tiers of play. For example, in Italy there are Series A, B, and C. Teams that finish in the bottom three of one league are relegated to the league below them. Teams that finish in the top three are promoted to the league above them. Simple. To the point. Easy. So how would this work in the NBA?

Split the league into two 15-team leagues. The Lakers, Celtics and teams of that ilk make up the top league. The Clippers, T'Wolves and the like make up the B-league. The top teams compete against top competition. The fans don't have to wade through the muck of Bucks-Wizards game or Warriors-Thunder match-ups, when everyone knows those teams aren't going anywhere. Additionally, the Charlotte Bobcats and Memphis Grizzlies of the world have something to play for from late February to May. Instead of just playing out the string and pinning their hopes on the lottery, now they can battle it out to see who will be promoted up. For teams on the playoff bubble, every game gains more importance as they strive not to be demoted down. Everybody wins!

The biggest problems to such a idea would be lost advertising revenue and trying to convince NBA stars to play for a "B-team". But if you really think about it, superstar free agents seldom sign with the lower level teams, as is.

It's not the only idea to make the League more competitive but I think it would be real interesting and not out of the realm of reality.