If It's Broke, Fix It! 5 Ways to Fix the NBA
The NBA lost a reported $400 million last season, and projections for this year are not any better: League officials are estimating anywhere from a $350-400 million loss.
What is the problem? Does America no longer like watching basketball? Are fans no longer amazed at watching guys that are 6'9", 270 pounds have a 40-inch vertical leap?
The problem facing the NBA is that there are only a few teams in the league that can actually be considered "contenders" to win it all.
David Stern has gotten a lot of grief for the steps he has taken (or not taken) to move the NBA forward, so allow me to play commissioner for the day.
Some of these are serious reasons and others are for your reading enjoyment. You decide which is which, and please post your suggestions for the league as well!
Sit back and enjoy, because here are the top five ways to fix the NBA.
Reducing the Number of NBA Teams
The league has turned into a few super teams and a whole lot of teams that are dreadful. Can the NBA really blame the fans for not watching the Philadelphia Sixers play the Memphis Grizzlies last night?
Sorry, Mr. Stern, but if I wanted to watch guys walk around, curse at the guys in charge, and produce a ton of bricks, I would have taken a union job.
The NBA needs to cut their losses with teams like the Toronto Raptors (Canadian basketball teams...really?) and New Jersey Nets (no offense, HOVA) and stack the remaining teams with their best players. Wouldn't games be more enjoyable if every team had three to four potential All-star's on their rosters, instead of watching Darius Songaila man-up on Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan or Dwight Howard on a daily basis?
The balance of power within the NBA is an absolute joke. Don't agree? Chew on this: In the past 26 years, only seven cities have enjoyed victory parades! Compare that to the NFL, where 10 different teams have won Super Bowls in 13 years.
There are only five or six teams that have a legitimate shot at winning a championship each year in the NBA. Can you really blame us fans of the other 23-24 teams for not watching?
Follow the NFL Blueprint
That is how I look when I watch you play, Elton.
In all seriousness, NBA contracts are completely out of control. How can any non-elite team become one? They need to intentionally lose all of their games, so they have the CHANCE to get lucky and draft a superstar.
I am a Philly guy, so let us examine my Sixers for a second. The Sixers had one of their worst seasons in 20 years last year, and they lucked out and received the No. 2 pick in the draft. However, there was no Kevin Durant or Gary Payton to be had in this particular draft (former No. 2 picks).
The Sixers got Evan Turner. Now, this is not to bash on E.T., as I think he will be a very solid player in the NBA for the better part of a decade, but no one will mistake Turner for a guy that could turn around a franchise. I mean, he can't even break the starting lineup for an under .500 team.
In the NFL, if you sign a player to a big contract and he turns out to be a bum, what happens? The team is forced to swallow the signing bonus they paid the player, but they are allowed to cut him and at least save some of that money and put it towards another player.
In the NBA, if you sign Elton Brand for $80 million and he stinks up the joint but no one is watching, does it make a sound? YES! When teams have salary cap space in the NBA, they feel pressured to go out and sign the biggest name available to put fans back in the seats. But, the best free-agent players have shown for the past decade that they will only sign with title contenders.
So, how can the middle of the pack teams get any better?
The NBA needs to follow the NFL's blueprint of allowing teams to pay as big of a signing bonus that they wish to lure free agents to their teams, but still have the flexibility to release the player (and release their obligation to his contract) if he turns out to be a bust.
All Players in the League Must Rock Afro's
This one has always seemed like a no-brainer to me: All NBA players, coaches, assistant coaches, trainers and doctors, regardless of age, race or ethnicity will be required to grow and sport an Afro.
Players will be encouraged to show creativity and originality while rocking the 'Fro. Highlights and complete hair coloring of Afro's to match team logos will also be smiled upon.
I am no mathematician, but I would have to estimate that the league would bring in at least a solid $300-400 million in hair endorsements alone. If Troy Polamulu can catch on with Head and Shoulders, why couldn't Steve Nash with an Afro?
The NBA is in serious financial crisis and we need to think of crazy, out of the box ideas to bring fans and revenue back to the league. Afro's for everyone is not one of them.
Technical Fouls Will Be Encouraged
There is nothing like being at an NBA game with your young son and daughter sitting next to you and watching a grown man who is worth millions yelling at another grown man.
There is a reason a guy like Charles Barkley is still on TV and still making bank. He causes controversy.
The top radio and TV shows—Howard Stern, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck—what do they all have in common besides being totally insane? They cause controversy.
The NBA should not totally abandon their stance of two technical fouls and you're ejected, but instead use that premise to give bonuses to any player who reaches the two T mark in a game.
NBA officials will have to come up with a strict, set policy of what constitutes a "new technical" as they are still in financial crisis.Cursing and hand gestures will no longer be good enough to deserve a T.
The No. 1 way to fix the NBA: Bring back the backboards that shatter.
Sure, there may be some safety issues with the glass falling on some of the players and fans, and is there is the potential for someone to get hurt. But Ron Artest and Jermaine O'Neal ran into the stands and beat up a couple of fans for throwing popcorn and a soda on them, so who really cares?
The penalty shot is now considered by many to be "the most exciting play in sports," but all of that would change if backboards were meant to be broken.
Think about it: We stand up and hold our breath every time LeBron James or Blake Griffin have a clear path to the rim. Imagine how much more exciting it would be if there was the potential for the whole rim to come down with them!
Fans would cheer for these moments just like they do for goalie-on-goalie fights in hockey.
A whole new crowd of fans would show up to NBA games if they knew the backboard had the potential to be completely obliterated a couple of times a game. Maybe some of those Americans who show up for all of the U.S. National Team World Cup matches would have a reason to jump up and down singing at an NBA game.
At least we wouldn't have to listen to a Lil' Wayne beat the entire game.