Is It A Basketball Game, Or A Circus?

When I was vacationing over the last few days in Florida, I took a break from trying to tan my pale skin and went to see the Heat play the Pacers. The game was over about 4 minutes into the second quarter, but it was still fun to be there. A few notes / hoopservations:

1. Sam Perkins was there. He had on a suit, and occupied about three seats. From where I was sitting, he looked like he was sleeping. I love that guy.
2. The Pacers are barely an NBA team. At times, the lineup they had on the floor was just embarrassing. TJ Ford had a couple of nice drives to the hoop, and Troy Murphy looked like he belonged on an NBA court, but the rest of them had no business getting paid to do whatever it was that they were doing out there. Mike Dunleavy and Roy Hibbert were awful. Tyler Hansborough was trying hard, but really didn’t bring much to the table. It’s hard to see how the Nets, with Devin Harris and Brook Lopez, are significantly worse than those guys.
3. The Heat, on the other hand, looked pretty good. Of course, when you win a game by 34 points, you’re going to look pretty good in the process. But going beyond the score, I was impressed by the variety of options they had on offense. They dominated, and weren’t leaning on Wade all of the time. Whenever they can get 30 points and 15 boards between O’Neal and Beasley, and get 15 points and 10 assists between Arroyo and Chalmers, they’re going to be tough to beat — and those numbers are reasonable goals for those guys if they play up to their ability.
4. During every timeout, there was some type of skit going on: KissCam, the HeatDancers, the Junior HeatDancers, a Papa John’s pizza giveaway, shooting t-shirts into the crowd, etc., etc., etc. I have been to Sixers games where I felt like I was at the circus, but I thought it was something unique to the Sixers. When I saw the same type of nonsense at Knicks games, I didn’t make anything of it – I just figured that, if I ran the Knicks, I, too, would want to distract the fans from the product on the court. Now that I’ve seen it in Miami, also, I have to worry that every NBA game involves juggling acts, dancing kids, and various other skits to distract the fans from basketball. Why is this, and how do we make it stop? Does NBA stand for No Basketball Anymore?

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