Do I Miss the NBA? Depends on Which One You Mean

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Do I Miss the NBA? Depends on Which One You Mean
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
THIS Phil Jackson, I don't miss

Right about now, if the Hatfields and the McCoys had been able to settle their differences (that would be the players and the owners, or vice versa), the NBA season would be just underway.

The season would have tipped off after weeks of exhibition games, during which time the Miami Heat and LeBron James would have been unmercifully mocked and taunted for losing in the Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. Followed by an entire 82-game regular season of the Miami Heat and LeBron James being unmercifully mocked and taunted for losing in the Finals to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Pistons would be just starting out under their new coach, Lawrence Frank, not long after stubbing their toe on him.

Do I miss the NBA?

Yeah, the same way I miss a root canal, Vanilla Ice and New Coke.

Do I miss looking at tattoos that make a player’s arm look like a 19th century treasure map? Do I miss shorts that go to the ankles?

Do I miss the NBA, you ask (or even if you didn’t)?

Do I miss wall-to-wall games on Christmas Day, the one day of the year in which the television should be turned off?

Do I miss Kobe Bryant? Do I miss the Charlotte Bobcats at the Palace on a Tuesday night?

Now THIS Phil Jackson, I miss

Do I miss the NBA?

 

 

Do I miss that goofy, dotted half-circle under the hoop?

Do I miss a league where 95 percent of the players can’t execute a bounce pass? Or even know what one is?

Do I miss the NBA?

Do I miss four guys on one side of the court while the fifth dribbles the ball for 15 seconds, looking up at the shot clock?

Do I miss the final 30 seconds of a close game taking 30 minutes to play?

Do I miss the NBA?

Do I miss wondering on whose sidelines Larry Brown will turn up next?

Do I miss the latest season-ending injury suffered by Greg Oden?

Now, let me tell you about the NBA I do miss.

I miss shorts that went mid-thigh.

I miss the 24-second clock on the floor, in the corners.

I miss three-to-make-two.

I miss a final score of 132-127 that was played in regulation, not five overtimes.

 

I miss names like Coby Dietrick and Zaid Abdul-Aziz and Tom Boerwinkle.

 

I miss coaches like Doug Moe and Frank Layden, who were worth the price of admission just for their post-game comments. That, and Moe wore leisure suits and Layden looked like your tax guy.

I miss backcourt fouls and jump balls to start each quarter.

I miss every basket worth two points, even if you nailed it from 30 feet away.

I miss Pete Maravich and how he wore “Pistol” on the back of his jersey instead of his last name. And, of course, I miss his ball-handling skills, which even the Harlem Globetrotters would have been hard-pressed to match.

Do I miss the NBA?

Well, yes, if that NBA included arenas like the HemisFair and Kemper and the Fabulous Forum and Cobo.

I miss referee Earl Strom, the animated, Ron Luciano of the NBA.

I miss best-of-three playoff series.

I miss this oddball division: Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee and PHOENIX.

I miss the year the Bullets were the Capitol Bullets—between being Baltimore and Washington.

 

While I’m at it, I miss the Kansas City-Omaha Kings.

I miss first round playoff matchups like Golden State and Chicago.

 

I miss the Vancouver Grizzlies, because how cool was it that the NBA was silly enough to put a team in Vancouver?

Do I miss the NBA?

I don’t miss Pau Gasol but I miss Swen Nater.

I don’t miss Phil Jackson the coach but I miss Phil Jackson the player. Oh, those shoulders.

I don’t miss Billy Hunter the players rep but I miss Billy Knight the scorer for the Pacers.

I don’t miss Gilbert Arenas calling himself Agent Zero but I miss John Williamson being called Super John.

Do I miss the NBA?

I don’t miss 6’11” small forwards but I miss 6’7” centers.

I don’t miss Nike but I miss Chuck Taylor. And I don’t miss leather but I miss canvas.

I don’t miss Jason Kidd but I miss Ernie DiGregorio.

I don’t miss the New Orleans Hornets but I miss the New Orleans Jazz.

 

I don’t miss Charles Barkley the commentator but I miss Charles Barkley the player. Because who wouldn’t miss someone dubbed “The Round Mound of Rebound?"

Do I miss the NBA?

 

Well, if you’re asking if I miss Gus the Dancing Vendor, hell yes. But if you’re asking if I miss the Automotion dance girls, hell no.

Don’t draw any conclusions from that, by the way.

I miss Leon the Barber.

I miss World B. Free, Harthorne Wingo, T.R. Dunn, Harvey Catchings and Joe C. Meriweather.

I miss David Thompson leaping from the free throw line for a dunk.

I miss the Buffalo Braves.

I miss smoke in the arenas drifting to the lights above.

I miss when basketball players were called “cagers.”

I miss 20-second injury timeouts.

Do I miss the NBA?

I don’t miss three days off between playoff games—in the same city.

 

I don’t miss Bill Walton the commentator, and I really don’t miss Bill Walton the player all that much, either. Except for his headband.

Speaking of headbands, I don’t miss them on today’s players but I miss them on Slick Watts, who was bald.

I don’t miss Kevin McHale coaching the Minnesota Timberwolves but I miss Bill Russell coaching the Seattle Supersonics.

I miss saying Seattle Supersonics.

So, do I miss the NBA?

Which one you talking about?

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