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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Monday, April 28, 2008
Why I Don't Care About the Suns

A couple of things first.

I understand that being a fan of professional sports can be seen from some quarters as a somewhat bizarre undertaking. Wasting one's precious time and money to follow a bunch of grown men being paid outrageous sums of money to play a game, well I cannot think of a rational way to justify it. It takes a suspension of disbelief. However I do enjoy watching professional athletics, especially baseball.

I used to be a huge NBA fan. Earlier today on ESPN they were showing some footage from one of the Lakers-Sixers Finals of the early 80s and I sat there enthralled not so much by the fact that I knew every player in the film by sight but I bet I could give you a 3 to 5 minute summary of each guy's career highlights, even Mark Landsberger.

Now I could care less. The NBA is dead to me.

How did this happen? I can think of three reasons.

First I stopped identifying with the players. It didn't occur to me this was going on until Jordan 2nd retirement in 1998 but it probably happened earlier. The players who enabled my suspension of disbelief, like Doctor J and Larry Bird, were being replaced by despicable figures such as Kenny Anderson and Shawn Kemp. It seemed that the league was hell bent on wasting the precious capital it had earned from its previous golden decade. The great Bulls teams of the 1990s, the great sportsmen like Olajuwan and Jordan only masked a deep seedy underbelly of fundamentally flawed play and too many players coasting on guaranteed contracts.

Second, the NBA started to cut its ties to the local communities. It's hard enough to develop an emotional connection to teams that seem to completely turn-over their roster every few seasons but it's impossible when you know the franchise could be just as transient as the players. It started at the beginning of the decade when the owner of the Charlotte Hornets ran the team into the ground despite having a supportive community and was allowed with the league's blessing to pick up and move the team to New Orleans. Now this year the NBA is using the Seattle as an example to other NBA cities by allowing the Sonics to move to the smaller market of Oklahoma City, all because Seattle wouldn't build the team its second publicaly financed arena in 12 years.

I could also add the example of the Grizzlies who a few years ago moved from Vancouver to Memphis and may be moving to yet another city but no one seems to care. Their example just goes to prove that the league and the owners would rip a team out of one community and place it in another as long as they could get a better arena deal

Third and the final straw was the whole Tim Donaghy affair where Donaghy was found to have ties to organized crime and helping to fix games he refereed in. The thing was, I wasn't the least surprised.


I guess for all of those reasons, I'm going to stick with juiced up baseball and football players and the greedy owners in those sports, after all there is only so much nonsense I can take. Sometime in June when the local temperature is above 110 I will turn on the TV and discover that someone won the NBA Championship. If I care to think of it, I will reminence about the days when life used to be simpler, when the NBA Finals used to be shown on tape delay and the Kings played some of their games in Nebraska.

Have fun NBA, we shared some good times but it was nice knowing you.