Soap Box: 40 Days of Hell

Shelby Dixon

It’s postseason time in the NBA and we all know what that means. It means being held captive for two months, (the league’s advertising campaign is “40 days and 40 nights of NBA Basketball”) while the league rakes in advertising cash. It means watching pointless first round series that seem to drag on and on and on as the clearly better team demolishes a team who scraped their way into the playoffs on the last day. It means having to listen to SportsCenter anchors analyze superstars and role players every single night until June. I’m giddy with excitement. Only, not really.

The NBA playoffs are a joke, a long, drawn out, over inflated, under achieving spectacle. I don’t want to see a .500 team play a team and get dominated for four or five games. I don’t want to see the same eight teams play best-of-seven series. Explain to me how it takes the NCAA three weeks to eliminate 63 teams on their way to determining a national champion, but it takes the NBA two long, painful months to get through seven teams. The excitement of NBA playoffs is severely lacking. The college game is full of passion and entertainment. And, yes, partially, that is due to the intensity and emotion of college student-athletes, compared to the “I-don’t-really-care” attitude of NBA all-stars. But I think there is more to the story here. In the NCAA tournament, you have to show up and play your best game, every single day. There are no second chances, there are no redo’s, it’s one and done. You are one shot away from winning or losing, one turnover from the season being over, one missed defensive assignment from saying “better luck next year.”

The NBA playoffs lack that. If a game is lost, the team can come out again tomorrow night and play again. A team can lack focus and intensity, and make up for it. A player can decide to lag behind on defense and let an easy basket go, because, let’s face it, that is acceptable in the NBA. The teams are pampered, taking days off between every game, even when they are in the same city. Why are we, as consumers of the NBA product, subject to excruciatingly long series to determine a winner?

I am sure there are NBA super fans out there who love it. They want it to be basketball season all year long. But for me, and every other casual NBA fan out there, it sucks. It is boring and painful. Just give me my winner and move on. I honestly don’t care how much advertising money you can make. You are already a multi-billion dollar industry, there is no need to be greedy and force fans to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers beat up on the Chicago Bulls, or the Los Angeles Lakers take out the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The NBA used to be a funny joke. Now, it is just a sad excuse for a professional sports league. Players don’t play defense, coaches don’t care, owners want money, and the commissioner is senile. It is time for a change in the playoff format, because it makes fans downright sick.