I Want The Old NBA Back

Lance PaukerCorrespondent IMay 17, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JUNE 12:  Kobe Bryant #8 and Shaquille O'Neal #34 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate defeating the New Jersey Nets in Game four of the 2002 NBA Finals on June 12, 2002 at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Lakers won 112-106 to sweep the series and take the 2002 championship title.  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.  Mandatory copyright notice: Copyright 2002 NBAE  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

I'm sitting here watching the Suns Lakers game. Three quarters in, I'm amazed I haven't turned off the TV. Not only is the game unequivocally boring, but EVERY single commercial break has the audacity to promote the DVD release of the movie "Valentine's Day." 

Reality check: Oprah is on during the day. And so should this game, because by no means is this prime-time television. 

I miss the old NBA. I miss the days where Steve Nash wasn't the only one with a black eye. I miss the times when crowds didn't spend the entire game sitting down in, "I already know the result of this game so why bother" apathy. I miss the buzz. I miss the "I love this game" feel. I miss the wars that used to go on every possession. And yes, there were casualties. Just ask Patrick Ewing. 

No matter what happens this postseason, the eventual champion will be overshadowed by LeBron, a king that we have prematurely crowned.

Kings get crowns, buddy. 

The league hype seems to solely centered on next season. Where's LeBron going? LeBron, LeBron, LeBron, D-Wade, LeBron. Can they win a title? I don't know, I'm not Shazaam. But what I do know is that there is a title chase happening right under our eyes, and the NBA seems to have completely forgotten about it. Shame on them.

I miss the times where every game that was played seemed like a reenactment of the movie Gladiator. I miss the times when holding your breath was commonplace, because it was only a matter of time until the Lakers stormed back from the depths of hell in game 7 to shock the upstart Blazers. It was only a matter of time until Reggie Miller would create the longest nine seconds in the history of the NBA. It was only a matter of time until Allan Houston would send a ball around the rim in 80 days, sinking the Heat in a miraculous eight-over-one seed upset. 

Those days, great moments weren't yearned for. They were expected. 

Even the Celtics dismantling of LeBron wasn't exciting to watch. A monumental upset? I don't think so. With the exception of Game 3, the Celtics were clearly the stronger team throughout the series. It seemed like they gradually sucked the life out of LeBron, the Cavs, and the entire city of Cleveland, using that fuel to power a sleeping giant. Old people have to nap, but when they are awoken, its a scary sight. A helpless Mike Brown and a nail-biting LeBron learned that the hard way. 

I'm not saying the NBA hasn't had their share of playoff moments as of late. LeBron's game winner against Orlando last year was pretty "I love this game-esque." Yet, it was ultimately overshadowed by the Cav's inability to advance to the finals.

Kobe finally got his ring last year, but it seemed more like the "finally, thank God that's done with" variety rather than the unblemished ecstasy we saw in his earlier championships. It was like he had just took a really tough exam, and was able to wipe the sweat off his brow after finding out that he passed. 

The Celtics-Bulls first round series in 2009 was nothing short of some of the most entertaining television in the past 20 years. But it was in the first round.  After that marathon the viewers, players, and even the NBA decided to poop out the rest of the playoffs, obviously exhausted.

Whoever decided to make the first round 7 games is a bigger idiot than the guy who invented the solar-powered flashlight. 


The season is a marathon enough. The playoffs is supposed to be that hard sprint at the end of the race. The kind of race where a combination of talent, endurance, and heart will always reign supreme. 

These days, the first round takes three weeks. That's a marathon in itself. 

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's so much more needed to be improved. With the exception of the Thunder, the fans seem to be disengaged. Even players seem disengaged. And not just LeBron. Cough, Joe Johnson. Cough, Dallas Mavericks.

I want to love this game again. NBA, can you help me out? Please?