Last week, I attended the matchup between the Chicago Bulls and the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena in Oakland. It was the first basketball game I had been to all season.
Once upon a time, I was actually a basketball fanatic. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I was naturally a fan of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
It was an easy choice, as even though I lived in Upstate NY, I hated all sports organizations that resided there. In fact, I still do. Don't ask me why, because I'm not really sure.
Regardless, the main attraction to the game for me was the passion these guys played with. They lived and died by each game, and it showed in their emotions. Everyone wanted to "Be Like Mike," because of his dedication and talent, and the rest of the Bulls followed suit on a regular basis.
After Michael retired (the first time), things started to go downhill. I can't pinpoint any particulars that turned me off, but the NBA slowly started to become an afterthought, and my interest declined more and more each year. These days, I don't even watch unless it's June and the playoffs have a good storyline.
For instance, last season the Warriors were obviously the feel-good story of the playoffs. Seeing as I now live in the Bay Area, it was easy for me to "catch the fever," so to speak. I watched as they made their journey through the first round, before losing to the Jazz. It almost gave me a reason to start following basketball again—the passion they displayed during that time almost had me convinced.
Then, this season began.
I watched for a little while, as the Warriors lost the first few games of the season. The passion wasn't there, hence the poor play and uninteresting entertainment. I realize that they're very well in the hunt for the playoffs now, but the first few games of the season were enough to remind me why I don't like watching basketball anymore.
So, when I showed up to the Bulls-Warriors game last week, I was intrigued to see which team I felt the most compelled to cheer for. I was then surprised to see that, even being in Oakland with thousands of Warriors fans, I had no urge to cheer when they came back from 13 points down to make a game out of it. My allegiance was still very much with Chicago.
The problem was, even though the Bulls won that game, I didn't feel any kind of emotion coming from the team. How they won the game was purely from the talent they possess in their roster. If they were even close to playing with the kind of emotion that Jordan and Co. had, they might be right up there with the Pistons and Celtics this year.
This brings me to my point: The NBA as a whole is just not as interesting to watch anymore, and I think I know how to fix it.
82 games are too many for a regular season. The players get too tired, and each game can almost be deemed unimportant. With 82 games to play, who cares if you lose one when you're at the end of a road trip and the team is feeling slow? You can make it up on your next home-stand, right?
Why not make the regular season shorter? Let's say we made it a 43-game season. Each team would play everyone in their conference twice, and all teams in the opposite conference once. There would be twice as much time in between games, which would give the players a chance to rest up. Also, each game would be almost twice as important in reference to the playoff picture.
Teams with more energy and more reason to play their hearts out, might just make for an overall more exciting sport—don't you think?
Anyhow, that's just my humble opinion. Maybe somebody who can relate will convey my thoughts to the proper authorities. Until then, I'll be following the NFL's offseason. It's way more interesting.