NBA: No Chewing Of Straws. Say Whaaat?!

K. D. JamesCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2010

It has dawned on me that the older National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern gets, the more I see the NBA turning into its more restrictive American football counterpart—the NFL, aka the No Fun League.

In fact, the NBA should now stand for the No Balls Association in discussions held at water cooler breaks, bracketology meetings and all around the blogosphere.

My frustration stems from NBA executive Stu Jackson's decree this week, thus banning current Dallas Maverick guard Caron Butler and all other pro ballers from chewing on straws because the plastic items, normally used for drinking beverages, present potential hazards of some sort on the court.

What. Ev. Er.

When Butler was with the Washington Wizards, he had done the habit almost throughout his 4 1/2-year tenure. The Washington media in fact made light of the situation, with the Washington Post's Dan Steinberg and WTTG Fox 5's Dave Feldman both finding it odd yet totally innocuous.

For example, the reporters asked Butler if he preferred regular straws to bendy, flexible ones, from fast food restaurants or the generic kind.

(Butler's choice: regular ones, particularly from McDonald's.) 

However, once Butler was shipped to one of the better teams in the Western Conference last month before the league's trade deadline, thus gaining more exposure to this masticating fetish, it seemingly becomes a big problem for NBA headquarters in New York to correct.


Once Stern and his boys started getting their pants dry-cleaned with extra starch and at high-waters length—post-Malice-in-the-Palace—that's when they decided to straighten out all aspects of behavior and comportment that, to me, still haven't drastically changed the league's image.

Instead of allowing Allen Iverson and others to wear baggy jeans and T-shirts five sizes too big, Stern enforced a button-down-and-slacks dress code.

Instead of letting Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James wear leggings and other gear that reduces pressure on lower extremities such as ankles and knees, Stern,  banned the dorky-yet-necessary legwear for less supportive braces.

And instead of keeping tabs on players in locker rooms, where firearm standoffs take place as if it's the OK Corral, Stern decided to suspend boneheads like Gilbert Arenas—after the fact. 

Well, the suspension on Arenas and his fellow village idiot Javaris Crittenton was a good thing, but I am still scratching my head as to why the NBA is continuing to cockblock harmless activities like chewing straws—something Caron Butler has admitted to doing since he was in high school and in college at UConn!

I've chewed on straws from time to time in my day, and they have always left a nice, gluey, paper-towel taste in my mouth. All joking aside, it's a nasty habit, but am I the only one who has never seen say, Chris Paul or Shaq, ever having one of their eyes gouged a straw?

Or did you ever watch Dwight Howard in a game where he's being cornered at one spot on the floor by the other team, and stabbed with "plastic daggers" simultaneously, a la Caesar and his assassins on that fateful Roman day in March, 44 B.C.?

Come on! 

In my mind if Butler remained in Washington, this never would have resulted in an institutional crackdown by the higher-ups. But now that he's among the elite teams with, yes , an ebullient, rebellious owner that the commish just loves to hate (Mark Cuban), Stern will continue to Grinch up the arena that everyone used to love and grow fond of.

Sadly, there's no joy in Whoville (or Mudville, your take) anymore. And yes, Stern, you can chew on that .

Oh, shoot...This just in: According to an Associated Press report, the NBA has banned all players from chewing gum and fingernails, effective immediately... Sorry, LeBron!