Column: Who Cares?

By Ian Gold

If you take away the appeal of highlight reels, the NBA and the WNBA become eerily similar. The NBA is such a bland brand of basketball. Most of the time, it seems, the players don’t care about the final score as long as a paycheck is included.

I have a roommate, Jeremiah, he is big, cute and cuddly; but we tend to argue a lot about stupid things.

Could I kill a deer with a javelin? Could a super-hero with super intelligence defeat a super-hero that can create orgasms with the blink of an eye? I love to argue, thus the essence of Jeremiah. But I digress. The only way I can watch an NBA basketball game is if I have money on the line after a Jeremiah argument.

I grew up a New Jersey Nets fan, but I won’t stay interested very long watching them. I think my sentiments are shared by many other sports fans – college basketball is all the hoops I need.

College, where they still run the offense through. College, where they dive for loose balls. And, oh yeah, college, where there is enough emotion to celebrate a win.

Last year David Stern finally noticed a decline in fan support. For years he has been saying the league is as popular as ever, but here in America people are losing touch. How many games have been proclaimed a shootout – yet when the winning bench is shown, the obvious reaction is, “wow, nobody cares.”

David Stern thought it was finally time to make changes. He thought the older fans didn’t relate to the leagues thug appeal and figured he would put in a dress code. The idea wasn’t popular through the league, and it hasn’t been popular for the fans the league was aiming at. Sorry, Mr. Stern, that age group is gone.

Finally, Stern realized that the league was too young, negatively affecting publicity in the news and ruling out an audience that could have become attached to the athlete in college. Too many young and filthy rich athletes were disturbing middle America. Now instead of being 19 and filthy rich; they are 20 and filthy rich, good idea David. The one positive is that I will watch the Jazz, Rockets or Lakers to check up on ex-Illini.

But Brian Cook, Luther Head and Deron Williams were in the program, and they grew up in Champaign. I would be interested to find out if Jayhawks fans feel the same attachment to Brandon Rush in a year, or how much the Tarheels like the Atlanta Hawks now?

The one-and-done player may not be quite what Stern is looking for as, once again, the idea seems pretty futile. Stern has probably done more for the college game than for his own. College coaches recruiting elite athletes don’t have to worry about them jumping ship at the last minute and wasting a scholarship.

So we have narrowed it down. Out of all the teams in the league, I can watch about four of them for a quarter or so.

Unless of course I want to make ten dollars by showing up Jeremiah. If I was good at throwing javelin and had all day to hunt, surely I could get one, right? More interesting to ponder that than resorting to the National Boring Association.

Ian Gold is a senior in Communications. He can be reached at [email protected]