NBA / Sep 5, 2008 / 11:36 am

Pass the Mic: How Money is Killing the Love of the Game

LeBron JamesLeBron James (photo. Mannion)

A little while back we introduced a feature called “Pass the Mic,” where we hand the columnist reigns over to one of our readers for a day. In his debut column, Smack reader Gee suggested some NBA rule changes (moving the three-point line back, adding four-pointers, etc.) that got a pretty strong response from our readers.

We’re bringing back Pass the Mic for another run, this time with loyal reader David_Brandon. Today he examines what how the almighty dollar is taking over the game we love …

Before the $100 million dollar contracts, before SportsCenter, before the Space Jams, before the Double Nickel at MSG, there was just the love of the game. Guys playing in rec centers, at the park, in a backyard, the side of the street with a cut-out milk crate nailed to a tree. I see the League today developing into more of a business than a game. Not to take out of context that it truly is a business, but when players, coaches (this means you, Larry Brown) and owners start treating the game like a marketing strategy rather than something they used to simply love to do, it’s bound to cause major problems.

The first part of this mainly stems from the increasing number of NBA players defecting to Europe. I’ve honestly got no problem with someone wanting to mix it up and try something different, but it’s the motive that’s behind it all. If a player feels he’s been disrespected or the organization isn’t being as stand up as he feels it should be, i.e. a Josh Childress, he’s gone. Now if someone is just weak, i.e. a Sergei Monya, then he might not look forward to getting the hot plate from Kobe. If nothing else, the Euroleague is leverage for guys now. Lebron James got offered a ridiculous $100 million/2-year contract to ball in Greece. Those are CRAZY numbers! And just because Josh was the first “big” name to leave doesn’t mean players haven’t been doing this for a while. It’s been going on and it just happens that Josh was a Lottery pick, had the name recognition and the media made a huge deal about it.

The other part of this is how role players are turning into superstars when they leave the League. If you don’t think Josh Childress will go over there and become the new Jesus Shuttlesworth in terms of popularity, wait. Just … wait. He’ll probably put up similar or slightly improved numbers, but just the fact he came out there, people are gonna think he turned Kool Aid into wine. Everyone wants to be like Mike. Or Kobe. Or T-Mac. Or Lebron. Nobody ever says they wanted to be Pip, or James Worthy, or Laimbeer … you get my point. Every championship team has role players.

The San Antonio Spurs are probably the best example of this. Think about it. Look at their teams over the past decade. They’ve had a strong bench, strong coaching, supportive ownership and one or two superstars. Granted, now teams need three superstars to really make an impact (See: Boston Celtics ’08), but that wasn’t always the case. Guys are getting better overall, but if that talent keeps leaving the League for money, then it dilutes the level of play here. If guys are only concerned about the fame and money, then their play will reflect that. This is kind of an extreme scenario, but if guys are playing everywhere else in the world, when it comes to Olympic play in the tournaments, is it really going to be legit that we say our players are the best in the world?

Bottom line is we need to get back to the roots of the League, when a real rivalry was ok, encouraged and anticipated. When a guy who was a Celtic would NEVER be a Laker. When teams played “no lay-ups” type defense. When a center didn’t average 3.4 boards on the year. When guys played through injuries for pride of the name on the front of the jersey and not the back. When guys played because they sincerely loved the game of basketball.

Ok kids, that’s it for today. Next time we’ll talk about why Jacque Vaughn can’t make a jumper and why Chuck Hayes could possibly go 4-37 from the stripe.

I’m out like gettin’ paid in the States…

– David_Brandon

What do you think? Hit us with your thoughts on the topic in the comments section below. And if you want to be next up on Pass the Mic, let us know and we’ll reach out..

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  • Tyrone

    First. Dime’s slipping y’all – all these sentimental pieces ain’t for shit.

  • fallinup

    The game has been commercial and all about the dollar since the 80′s. It’s nothing new. Stern wanted to globalize the game and he finally had the perfect tool to do that in one Michael Jeffrey Jordan. With his appeal, and the appeal of the likes of Magic’s smile, Bird’s popularity, etc….Stern found the perfect global marketing tool, The Dream team. And boy, did it work. When the NBA began raking in dollars, of course, the players wanted their cuts as well. Hence you see the 100 million dollar contracts and now, sub par players getting paid big bucks to be stars overseas.

    This article has good intent, and I respect the views…but it’s nothing new, and is something thats been around for at least 20 years now.

  • fallinup

    And yeah, I wanna do a pass the mic.

  • David Brandon

    fallinup,

    yeah, i hear what youre sayin’ about the dream team and its marketability, but those were still during times when guys were playing just to play primarily. guys were doing commercials, but it wasn’t like the cash was the main goal. winning was. magic playing center in that famous playoff game shows that. mike retiring (twice) shows that. shawn kemp gettin away with dunkin’ on everybody and then BRAGGIN’ about it shows that. it was just a different time. how’s it now that dikembe gets a tech for the Finger Wag now? what, b/c its not what sponsors wanna see?? naw man…
    honestly, youre right. this article isn’t anything new. but thats the great thing about hoop. our discussions will always be the same while the players and plays change. and we still love it.

  • http://myspace/jkwryter Jeffrey

    That is sooooooo true. I couldn’t agree more!!

  • fallinup

    Let’s face it…when Nike and Gatorade started turning record, out of this world profits on the likeness of MJ…the NBA saw what it could too. When the NBA began to rake in the money…thats when the contracts began to explode, because the player’s union demanded (rightfully so in my mind)..that player’s get their cut too. It’s been a snowball for the past 20 years. And it’s not going to change, because in essence, the explosion of basketball as a world wide phenomenon is a direct product of that.

  • Prof. TX

    This article makes me miss my basketball innocence. I miss how I watched the game as a kid, when it was about watching guys who looked like they could fly and games (or even series) that were decided by the last play. Now it’s about spoiled athletes who ‘need’ 100M to ‘feed their families’ (what the hell are they eating?), dirty referees, and a corrupt commissioner. Even if it really was about money back when I was watching Hakeem and Sampson do their twin towers routine, I miss the days where I didn’t know it.

  • http://www.conlinreport.com BConlin

    Nice… That’s the attitude killing basketball, I think guys should get paid (if I had the skill, I would get what I could), but what happened to wanting to be the best and doing what was necessary to win?

    Call me old school, but if you are in it just for the money, I wouldn’t want to play with you or watch you play.

  • YOUNGFED

    What’s with yall let Fedrodomus to a piece on here Dime. I could do it on Players who will rise and fall within the next couple years. I know yall hate the player but ya gotta admit my predictions be on point. I’m like the real version of Miss Cleo. lol

    Oh by the way Big Ups David Brandon wasn’t feelin’ the topic as much as Gee’s but good job.

    @Dime
    Yall got my email address and I know where yall work. So yall better put me on. Don’t have me send them boys down there to see ya, I know some of yall got warrants. LMAO

  • T Dubbs

    @Prof. TX

    This is easy the best comment I’ve seen on here:

    Now it’s about spoiled athletes who ‘need’ 100M to ‘feed their families’ (what the hell are they eating?)

    I’ve always thought those comments were hilarious also. You can bet your ass they aren’t eating Ramen Noodles and Mac’N'Cheese. :)

  • bballinca

    Very true. I have to stand up for Jacque. Why is everyone always ripping on him? The man has been in the league 10+ year now so he must be doing something right. Not too bad for a guy with no jumper that isn’t 7 ft. tall.

  • smity far away

    @ Prof. Tx–exactly…innocence is lost and with that loss comes an awareness that is damn near impossible to ignore…

  • YOUNGFED

    BTW Killin’ basketball with money. Naw gettin’ money aint the problem not gettin’ it is. The owners pockets ain’t hurtin’ so why should the players. NUFF SAID!!!

  • David Brandon

    fallinup,

    youre making a good point, man. so you think that the League is basically responsible for this and the players response just a bi-product…is that about right? but then at what do the players become accountalbe for themselves? like Prof. TX just said, you have guys talking crazy saying things like they can’t feed their family off the M.I.L.L.I.O.N.S. they’re making! i guess top ramen doesn’t exist once you get outta the ‘hood…

  • David Brandon

    @FED,

    funny as hell man! and thanks for the Up, fam. appreciate that…

    @bballinca,

    hahaha, i’m just sayin man, lol, a pg’s gotta have jigga. there’s just no way! jacque must be shinin’ shoes or foldin boxers…i dont know whats up, but he HAS been around for hella years.

  • Stepper

    @ David Brandon,
    the i cant feed my family was just a comment, you don;t have to take it at face value. Plus, players always made a huge amount of money.

    i can see how a 24 yr old guy, can’t be bothered with 80mil in the bank, but that always happened.

  • bsteezy3

    Hey, dude’s right on this one; however, there is no turning back. This game is representative of our country–it’s all about the money. As long as owners make millions off the on-court performances of their athletes, the athletes will want their cut. Egos will make some players look at other players’ contracts and ask for more money. The endorsements have taken over (blame the great MJ for that…) I can’t knock anyone for going to another country to make more money (or get more playing time) I don’t think this makes the league’s talent diminish. Instead, I think it gives other guys the opportunity to shine. Let’s be honest here, all of the guys in the league love basketball, but the NBA is a money-making business now. Why go to college for years and make several thousands if you can play ball and make millions?? All of these guys are moneydriven to an extent, and things will only get worse as time goes on. Nothing can be done about it. We just have to accept this change…

  • Bruce

    first of all u must not be from the inner city or an lower income area basketball for the love of it died when the ncaa started giving out scholarships and the aba draft came about. the love of the game keeps u motivated after u are not either a good player or your up in age that’s for the love but when u pick up that ball the first response of any player will tell u I wanna get out of my circumstances and this can help me. basketball gets u an almost free education while these colleges make millions of your name and face, it can then bring me millions of dollars to help my family. I play for the love cause I go to work at 3 that’s the love of the game. basketball are these guys jobs they over paid but its still there job. they deal with the media, fans, disgruntle family members, not being able to see their love ones, that large amount of money isn’t just for making a layup, jumpshot, or dunk. these guys are indentured servants to david stern and the teams they represent so overpaid maybe but hey aren’t a lot of us.

  • David Brandon

    stepper,

    i would hope i didnt have to take it face. geez, if it were literal, then its even worse than i thought man…;-)

  • Meica

    I think if you guys want to point the finger at someone, blame baseball. While I can understand the advantages for the players with guaranteed money, it’s not a liability that I think is necessary. If you make even $1 million a year and get hurt you’re rich enough where you should be able to hire someone to take care of your money so it can take care of you for the rest of your life or at least a long time.

  • David Brandon

    bruce,

    real talk…just cause i brought a point, doesnt mean i’m not from a certain side a the tracks, family. i been there man. i been through things aiight. no silver spoons over here. hoop isnt the only way to get outta your circumstances, though. as much as i love hoop, as much as i’m out to this day hoopin, i know my odds are gonna be slimmer than keon clark’s legs b/c i’m not 6’7″. i can run w/ the best of em and wore out the rest, but not everyone gets that look. i love the game just as much as you or anybody else on here. i play at all hours of the day like you would b/c i love the sport. i love the competition. i love seeing the other team lose. i love the floor burns and the scratches and sweat stains on my shirts. i respect this game man. so when i say money shouldnt be the focal point, i’m saying cherish what got you there. if you’ll play with the same fire for free, then play even harder for cash. look at the wnba. those girls bust ASS and dont make close to what these guys make. they love the game. i can vibe with that. for everything that hoop can bring FROM your passion…..thats what i’m talkin about. i’m only speaking on respecting what got you there. if the NBA’s motto is, “i love this game”, play like it.

  • Tha Boddy

    I applaud you…(This comment was “Tha Boddy” Approved)

  • http://www.sacbuckets.com Nick

    Thanks for the commentary David. Now, pass the mic this way. I appreciate your view for instilling a sense of pride and a love of the game back into modern basketball. However, it would be a mistake to think that modern basketball is not better than it once was. It is a great thing to love basketball. I think it builds character, develops competition, builds strength and dexterity, and provides an ideal outlet for youth to channel energy and develop discipline (myself included). However, we would be naive to think that the mad machine called the NBA is not responsible for the current world-wide adoration of basketball. Before the $100 million dollar contracts and the Nike endorsements we had a more primitive iteration of basketball. Defense was not as developed, the level of competition is not close to what it now is, and most importantly basketball did not reach a fraction of the people that it does today. I really believe the “Michael Jordan” effect is responsible for the modern success and ills of modern basketball.

    If players continued to just play basketball for the “love of the game.” Then we would have never been able to witness any of MJ’s spectacular moments. We would never have seen Dr. J’s aero-brillance. And, Lebron would probably be working on a college degree right now. Without the NBA, we would have no system of distributing or communicating basketball to the masses. Basketball would have been limited by the number of people that could fit inside the gym to watch the game. Television (and now the internet) created a way for the average Joe to get excited about basketball.

    Basketball had to become a business in order for it to evolve. Can you imagine watching basketball games on PBS because the players are just playing for the “love of the game.” It’s simple economics at it’s core. There has to be an incentive for players to give up their jobs and be able to play basketball for a living. Take the NBDL, many of those players have jobs because they can’t make this sacrifice on such a insufficient salary. In order to raise capital, you have capitalize on the marketablility of the game and it’s players. Magazines, Sportscenter, live telelvision broadcasts with color commentary, and trading cards all help create a huge flow of capital. Thus, players can play basketball for a living.

    The problem with basketball is that it became explosively maketable. Michael Jordan is the epitome of this. Commercials and television are what hook people on basketball. It is the excitement that is created through the media portraying these athletes as “larger than life”–doing something that most of us can only dream about-that has made basketball such an exciting sport to follow and watch. Millions of people started going to watch basketball games and buying NBA-related merchandise. After we saw Michael seem to fly through the air, we all wanted to go buy some J’s. We thought that we could do it too!

    It was only fair that the owners start paying these athletes their due for generating huge amounts of income. Ultimately, this helped attract many of the world’s greatest athletes and allows the masses to watch some of the most talented competitors battle it out from October through June every year. Personally, I’d much rather watch today’s games on ESPN, then a league full of players who play (not the most talented, not in the best shape, and not very competitive) because “they love the game” on PBS.

    Players moving to Europe do so because it is the next logical evolution of basketball. Players around the world have come to play in the NBA mainly because the NBA has historically paid the highest salaries. Let’s be real here. If I’m offered $3 million a year for my editorial skills in Greece, you can best believe that I will be on the next plane to Greece! So, how can we criticize the market forces which helped create our modern NBA? The same brilliant minds which helped establish the NBA can not possibly lose Lebron James or Kobe Bryant. But, I can assure you one of them will go play overseas. This seemingly impossible scenario will force the expansion of the NBA to Europe. Yes. I said it. Globalization creates a much smaller world. We will have games in Europe and Asia in the near future. Why do you think that we have season openers overseas? Rehearsal.

    It’s only logical that players follow the same motivational forces which brought them into the league. That is how the league evolved and that is how it will continue to evolve. There are also economic factors which will keep player’s selfishness and lack of “love of the game” in check. If players ever get too self-absorbed or lose the “love of the game,” then the quality of the games will degrade. Fans will slowly stop going to the games, buying memorabillia, and watching games on tv. It’s a sink or swim marketability factor that will forever ensure a great game.

    If we go entirely back to our roots, we will lose what we have. I do miss the rivalries such as the Lakers-Celtics but that was when there were two dominant teams. What we now have our many dominant teams. Who wants to see a lousy team play on tv? Would you pay money for that. We have many quality teams that people want to watch. Embrace the future and take a minute to really watch these guys play. In my opinion, it’s the best game in the world and only getting better.

  • eric

    david
    you started good and the article was material for some interesting thoughts
    however you missed the point imo: according to you too much money is basketball because us players go to europe
    (1) you could (should) have mentionned the impact of money on the behaviour of the players i.e. promising players disappearing and not playing up to expecations after getting a long term fat contract or latrell sprewell who needs to “feed his family”
    (2) US players going to europe can only be good in the long term. The level overseas becomes better, US players have to and will keep up with it – as the same time more better european players will join the NBA. It all becomes very competitive from a players/money standpoint and all the fans are happy. All Josh childress did was estimating his own value as a player and chosing the right offer for what he’s worth. I would not say josh childress has lost the love of the game. Latrell sprewell certainly did

  • RENO

    CHURCH

  • fallinup

    “But then at what do the players become accountalbe for themselves?”

    In response, David Brandon. What do they have to be accountable for? Leaving the NBA to play in Europe?, making more cash than what they would make in the NBA?, or just wanting to be a star on a foreign team? Why should that mean that they love the game less than someone like Lebron that isn’t playing in Greece right now? You’ll never know unless you ask each and everyone of the ones that flee to Europe…but can we really fault them for not wanting to play in the NBA anymore?

    Like I said before, the game is globalized. And it’s a business. The fact that player A wants to play in Moscow because he’s getting more cash offered to him is what the business of basketball is all about. Can we really fault someone like Joe Johnson, who wanted to make max money, and wanted to be a focal point in Atlanta instead of staying in PHX with a very good chance at winning a ring? I say no, because it’s his decision. I’m sure that when he’s at the tail end of his career, he’ll bite the bullet, and sign with some contender just to get a ring…lets look at Kevin Garnett, the big ticket was making super duper max money…so much so that it crippled the TWolves organization and they had less money to spend…now should we fault KG for taking the max money??? Did he not deserve max money??? If he would have taken less, could Minny have won more with a better team that it could afford?

    To me, players play the game because they love the game. Anyone that’s NBA caliber has played the game enough that they shouldn’t have to prove that they love it. Childress is overseas now, making better money than he would in the NBA, but he’s still playing the game. To fault him for playing overseas I think isn’t right.

    He didn’t hold that foreign team by the throat and demand that money…THEY offered it to him. KG may not have been good enough yet to grab up that 100 million dollar contract…but Glen Taylor is the one that signed that check. Joe Johnson said, I think I deserve max money, but Atlanta is the team that wanted to pay that much.

    These players sign contracts for a reason. And they negotiate contracts for a reason…because the team, owner, or who ever offering that contract is leasing the services of that player for an alotted amount of time.

    We can’t fault the players anymore than we should fault lawyers, carpenters, doctors, or contractors for trying to make the most out of their services…it’s business.

    In the pre Jordan 80′s…70′s and 60′s for that matter…I’m sure everyone of the NBA’s players would jump at the chance to make more than what they were making.

    I don’t think it makes their love of the game any less…it’s just how the game has evolved.

  • K Dizzle

    Good article, solid points, DB. Can’t really argue.

    @ Nick – c’mon playa, you can’t wait till dime passes you the mic? your verses were longer than DB’s lol

    I don’t usually do this, but I got to agree with Fed. It’s good to love the game, but a brotha still gotta eat and if the players ain’t have a union, they’d still be makin that wNBA money. Owners don’t care. It’s a bottom line business so if you can make 100 mill, you better take it cuz if the owner can afford to give you that and cover a salary cap, then how much he shovin into his pockets.
    It’s like Chris Rock says:’Shaq ain’t wealthy, he’s rich. The dude signin Shaq’s checks, that dude is wealthy”
    peace

  • David Brandon

    eric,

    youre bringing up a lot of good points. i agree with them too. i also dont think josh lost his love for the game. not at all. he got cashed out! thats still a win. he’s still hoopin. a team wanted him. on the surface, everything he wanted, he got. thats a W.

    Nick,

    you also make strong points, to a large degree i’m with. i dont think, however, we wouldnt have seen MJ’s brilliance if money didnt play a part. mike’s said time and time again, he plays b/c he loves the sport. his love of the game has brought him to where he’s at, which has developed into something of a global explosion, now carried on primarily by lebron and kobe. and lets say lebron did go for his degree then…ok….fine. he’d be out by now anyway. so that nullifies that.
    i like how you itemized each point and broke it down. but again, i’m standing by what i said in regards to how the love of the game is the premise for it all. everything youre saying pertains to what happens after you play the game at its highest level. the sense of pride should drive one to want to attain the championships, weath, accolades, endorsements, etc. the foundation of which i spoke of and thought i drove home, was everything basketball on a professional level brings is fantastic. its what you SHOULD want out of it. MSG is glitzy. LA is LA! Miami is a hot spot. thats alllllll fine. but if you dont have the sense of duty, pride and respect for the game and your MAIN focus shifts from what got you scouted and got you try outs and got you that Lottery Draft pick, hold onto that. the rest will fall into place. dont think i’m arguing either. i think we’re saying the same thing, but taking two different roads to the same place. i’m all for the growth of the league. man, you dont think i’m tired of seeing the Kings suck??? hellllll yeah i’m tired of that. i’d love to see the lower tier teams develop their guys and have a better overall League. thats the best scenario of the League investing in itself. you want to make the League better, then have better teams everywhere. that drives up the interest. which drives up the revenue. which drives up the marketability. which drives up the sponsors. which drives up the players ability to say, “hey, i want more money. i have a vested interest in what happens here and this is what i think i’m worth. let’s negotiate if we need to.” which also drives up the global interest. but it starts with the players…

  • David Brandon

    Damn, y’all makin’ a brotha WORK! lol!

    K Dizzle

    I hear you, man…

    So, as a whole, i hear a lot of you guys saying the players SHOULD be getting that money. or at least going after it. let me just say this and then i’ll shut up til someone wanna talk wreckless. lol i’m for players getting paid. except mike bibby, cause we cashed him out over ONE jumper off a c-webb pick, but this isn’t about that…i just like to see guys play with passion, you know? like they WANNA be there. everyone always wants to shoot/dunk/cross someone, but not play D. or look good losing. i’m like, “what part of the game is THAT?” i’ma bout to hella republican right now, lol, but i’m almost to the point where it’s like, man…earn that Leer jet you dippin out in! if anything, fans kinda deserve to see guys playing hard too, since they’re paying for something. some ppl will say stuff like that. to me, its not about that so much as it is just play like you want it more than anybody else out there. thats how i play. i want that win. if that means i score no points and have to lock somebody up. fine. if that means i need to drop buckets cause ppl actin’ scared to shoot, fine. but still, the win is the most important part at the end of the day. you play to win. if youre not there for that, then kick rocks, yo. haha know what i’m sayin? ok….i’m off my soapbox, fellas.
    consider the mic passed! hahaha

  • http://GEE2.com GEE… “Smokey, you been eating corn?”

    DB! I got to say that was a nice read pimpin. I really enjoyed it. Way to do that. I am feelin it to, because money is changing things so much.
    Imma lay it down on this end. I won’t even go there with my profession (teacher), but we can use doctors. On the real now, we got many many cats getting paid way more that doctors just to shoot a ball? I mean seriously, we talking about cats that save lives and often appear to make minor and major miracles happen and they not gettin top dollar.
    Now I know it ain’t the L and it’s more of a society priority type deal, but I’m just saying …man, that ain’t right.
    Anyway like DB said, I enjoyed all the old skool stuff you named and really enjoyed the article. Makes me appreciate playground ball that much more.

  • David Brandon

    GEE,

    whats up, my man! thanks for the love, kid.

    its pretty rough for some ppl in the education field. thats committment. wooo…

    hey all you guys were real cool for lettin me know what you thought an i appreciate all the feedback. holla at ya boy!! lol

  • nba

    Put me in the league! I LOVE basketball and i can hit both jumpshots and freethrows!

  • Ansonious

    Then you have the New York Knicks who are filling guys bank accounts for no work, no playoffs, no solid superstars, no brains, no diet programs for fat overweight players(Curry and Randolf,)no all stars, and still think it’s because of their coach. Look where greed has taken this once great team and turned them inside out to one of the biggest jokes in the nba

  • http://GEE2.com GEE… “Smokey, you been eating corn?”

    No doubt and yea the education field is no joke, but GEE is for da kids.

    Again great read pimpin.

    Ansonious I got to agree the Knicks are a great example of being turned from sugar to shhhhh.

  • loganlight

    Whoa.

    Big ups to Dime for giving Brandon the voice here… seems like a big debate

    I get what you’re getting at. The game is commercial…. but guess what Brandon:

    WE MADE IT THAT WAY.

    We bought the shoes. We pay for the tickets. We buy the jerseys. We elevate our athletes to more than just people. So if you want an NBA that is more for the love, maybe you should think twice before you cop those next Jordans.

    It’s something that doesn’t sit all to well with me, but I’ve become OK with it… Don’t know if that makes me part of the problem too.

    Honestly if we stop buying the shoes and the

  • fallinup

    In all, DB….it was a good read and you did make a good point. Can someone make sure Vince Carter, and Eddy Curry read this….thanks.

  • http://www.dimemag.com A-Slam

    I wanna do a pass the mic, there’s alot of things in basketball that frequently piss me off

  • kennypayne

    good viewpoint, check this out- the one thing that ruined the league is definately money. david stern got a little to greedy.(another example of the man exploiting brothers, thats a whole another post)

    The league used to be 23 teams when larry o’brien was in charge. then dr j, magic and bird took it to one level. then there was MJ. he changed the game-flat out- all aspects- how you prepare in the off season, weight lifting, the protype body for a 2 guard and he was just so smooth on and off the court. if it wasn’t for MJ would black people be so accepted in america today? that guy broke down some serious barriers. (i know u old timers feel me)

    David stern being the opportunist started his expansion plan. good to a degree- now we got what 30 teams? that means we got 84 players who really shouldn’t be playing. We got watered down rivalries because if u had 23 teams with the same mix of players, u would have some sick stacked teams that would build over a couple of years (think bulls-knicks, knick-pacers early 90′s)

    here’s where david stern really blew it- the rules changes!! he wanted it to look more entertaining to make up for the new players lack of solid fundamentals and game smarts. more entertaining means more ratings. more ratings = more money. why should we as the average fan pay for a players demand for a 100 million contract. then they gotta build a new stadium just for that junk.

    the nba could care less about ratings in the 80′s. god i miss CBS and brent mussbergers play by play.
    lets go over a couple why the league is kinda hard to watch for us old schoolers (don’t worry i got much luv for the new school)
    1. no more hand checking- derek harper would shut guys like chris paul down. kj would tear up this era
    2. they moved the 3 point line in a foot in the corners i believe.
    3. the charles barkley rule- no more backing down a player(dribbling with back to basket) for more than 3 seconds.
    4. the defensive zone changes

    As far as international players- they could always play- those russians spanked us in 88, thats why they got the dream team in 92. this idea that the international players caught up doesn’t fly with me. petro, kukoc, sabonis, smits, schremp could flat out play

    i wonder how much david stern makes a year nowadays compared to when he took over.

    I miss when it was just a game!! holla

  • Stepper

    @ David Brandon
    lol, they killing out here, you spent more time replying than on the original article, good work though, i feel your passion for the players money. joking btw.

  • James

    Your right man- but its been a buisness for over 20 yrs.

  • Homeless J

    Nice article.

    I’d be interested in writing one of these but I don’t have an idea for one yet.

  • http://afl.com.au josh tha roc

    Like the article Dave, good job bro.

  • wowzers

    i like the discussion that the article has generated. I personally feel as if the love of the game is gone. Why is it that people have “breakout years” when they’re up for a new contract but as soon as they sign that 100 million dollar deal, they start slumping! I’m a warriors fan and Eric Dampier’s play after his contract year was simply disappointing. AND on the same topic of money killing the love of the game, I gotta say that the prices of tickets are ridiculously high and that the average fan is unable to attend events they love. Its a damn shame.

  • http://www.paningit.blogspot.com paningit

    it’s your fucking bling-bling, bitches-n-hos, getting paid culture that mangled the very core of basketball. stupid americans!

  • YOUNGFED

    @Paningit
    Your just MAD cause you broke. If you don’t like our culture don’t follow it hater. The rest of the world still will.

    TREND SETTERS’!!!

  • VEE

    Wow! DB Like your spirit! You make me want to go to yellin, screaming, team-spirited game! an I love that stuff! Smile. But, I must admit if I was playing professionally I would want to get paid professionally. I love playing hard and love those FAT checks! Ha! Ha! I I would give fans the games of their lives! Ha! Ha!

  • qq

    Silly kid..