NBA / Aug 18, 2009 / 3:42 pm

21 reasons why you need to get NBA League Pass

Dirk is better than you think

Dirk is better than you think

This may sound bad coming from somebody in my profession, but by the time the NBA Finals rolls around, I’m just about tired of basketball. Having watched multiple NBA games every single day for the previous eight months and writing a column about it every single night (weekends and holidays, too), I’m always secretly hoping whoever wins Game 1 of the Finals can complete a nice, boring sweep so I can watch track and baseball the rest of the summer.

Then around mid-August, I’m ready for the NBA again and ready for my NBA League Pass renewal. That’s when the prospect of watching every pro game goes from “I have to” back to its rightful “I get to.”

At risk of sounding like a shill for David Stern, you NEED to get League Pass. If you’re a rookie, the first time you get it, it’s like undressing a woman for the first time: There’s so much tantalizing material laid out in front of you, it’s tough to decide where to start. Whether you go with what’s familiar (your local team), what’s safe (the Lakers, Celtics, etc.) or something new and risky (Grizzlies, Bobcats, etc.) is on you. But you can’t lose either way.

It’s easy for me to advise you to drop $199 on League Pass when mine gets reimbursed, but if you can afford it, do it. Here are 21 reasons why:

1. Kevin Durant — Before the age of the Internet and developments like League Pass, KD could’ve went through a Mitch Richmond-like career, secretly getting a ton of buckets while not enough people got to enjoy the experience.

2. Kevin Martin — Finally you can answer the question we’ve all had looking at box scores: How does that guy keep getting 30 a game?

3. Joe Johnson — The fact that so many readers think J.J. isn’t in the same class as Brandon Roy tells me that more people need to watch Joe play on a regular basis.

4. Dirk Nowitzki’s clutch ability — He’s more clutch than he gets credit for. You may have seen him miss game-winners, lose a playoff series he should’ve won, or disappear a few times in the fourth quarter. You probably missed a lot of the game-icing free throws, the daggers threes to kill a rally, and the fourth quarters that he’d dominated.

5. Local announcers — From the good (George Blaha in Detroit, Jerry Reynolds in Sacramento) to the bad (Tommy Heinsohn in Boston, Sean Elliott in San Antonio) to the fine (Stephanie Ready in Charlotte, Stacy Paetz in Indiana), it’s better than listening to the same ol’ national crew every week.

6. Clyde Drexler & Clyde Frazier — They deserve their own category. You’ll never hear a grown man giggle more than Drexler during a Rockets game, and Frazier’s style on the mic is equal parts poetic, pimpish and hilarious.

7. Local commercialsLike this.

8. Michael Jordan cameos — For the MJ followers who jizz in their pants whenever the G.O.A.T. is mentioned, if you watch Bobcats games on the regular, you can have a couple handfuls of Jonas Brothers moments throughout the season.

9. December 19, 2008 — From that night’s Smack: “…you live for those times when you find yourself frantically flipping between a couple contests in simultaneous crunch-time, when you’re afraid to turn away from one game but don’t wanna miss a game-winner in the other. That’s how it was Friday with Jazz/Pistons and Lakers/Heat. At one point, Pau Gasol was stepping to the line with eight seconds left and L.A. down two, at the exact same time Utah was looking to inbound from midcourt with 1.4 seconds left in OT and the score tied.” With League Pass, those kind of nights are commonplace.

10. Kobe Bryant vs. Bad TeamsWatching Kobe eviscerate defenses like New York, Memphis and Washington while just rationing out the intensity he’d have on full-bore against a contender can be fascinating.

11. Tim Duncan vs. Good Teams — Just like watching Duncan decide he’s going to administer an industrial-grade meat-slapping against a fellow All-Star rather than let Parker and Manu handle the lesser opponents.

12. Derrick Rose & Tyrus Thomas — You know what D-Rose can do. But Tyrus manages to consistently do amazing things on the court, even if that one Highlight of the Year is the only mark he makes on the game.

13. Milwaukee Bucks — My sleeper pick to be one of the more entertaining teams to watch next season. Again, I didn’t say they’ll be good. Just interesting.

14. Washington Wizards — The Warriors of the East. A circus act full of personalities whose on-court style is also fun to watch.

15. Point Guards — There are too many potentially great matchups on a nightly basis to limit yourself to the occasional ESPN/ABC/TNT game. On one night you could get Rose vs. Parker, Kidd vs. Nash, CP3 vs. Devin Harris, Deron vs. Monta, Rondo vs. Chauncey, and Tyreke vs. Brandon Jennings.

16. Garbage time — You get guys like Gerald Green, James White, Will Bynum and J.J. Hickson on the court with nothing serious at stake, and it’s highlights galore.

17. Midseason Grizzlies games — When there are more nachos in the building than paying customers. You can hear the beer man soliciting, the players talking sh*t on the court, and O.J. Mayo’s agent making plans to get to another market ASAP.

18. Random celebrities — You can see Jack, Spike and Tiger all the time now. League Pass is good for those out-of-nowhere Lil’ Wayne and Hulk Hogan sightings. You may even get a Vanilla Ice halftime show.

19. Atlanta crowds — County jail or the NYC subway is the only other place you’ll see a dude who looks like Steve Carell sitting next to a dude who looks like Lil’ Boosie. And at Hawks’ games, they’re both having a good time.

20. L.A. Clippers — Whether they’re good or terrible, the Clips always entertain. Last year it was like a contest to see how many different ways a team can lose a game, and between that you got to watch Eric Gordon begin building an All-Star career while Baron Davis acted like Coach Tupac had threatened him before the season.

21. The Old Guys — You may not even realize it now, but you’re gonna miss watching guys like Grant Hill, Shaq and Kidd when they’re gone. When all you’ve got left is memories and YouTube, you’ll regret not catching more actual games.

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  • Ashlov

    For anyone that doesn’t have Direct TV, you can order it straight off the NBA.com site, then plug your laptop or PC into your TV.

    I personally despise Direct TV, so I do it this way.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    You don’t even have to do that. I have Comcast, and you order it online or on the phone and it’s on your TV.

  • willsmithismydad

    sean elliott isn’t so much bad as hilarious

  • Cfield360

    Having subscribed last season, I can tell you that it’s great to have so many games to watch but keep in mind that most of the quality games are not available due to “Blackout Restrictions” a.k.a. games that are on national TV such as TNT, TBS, ESPN etc. This was a real letdown because as a Celtics fan, many of their games fit into this category and weren’t available to watch. Definitely something to consider.

  • Spiraea

    So is $199 for the online streaming version as well as the directv version? Because from my understanding, if you get the DirecTV deal, you get the online for free. But if you get only the online version, it doesn’t come with the DirecTV which I would think would be a cheaper price.

    I really want it to get it this year but I’m not sure I want to put down that much cash on it

  • http://dime fan

    @19 I’m crying. That is so funny. Also appreciate the Will Bynum and James White line. Hopefully they’ll be able to do something when it counts.

  • Deez

    regarding #5 Local Announcers…I’ve had the pass for years, and watching Houston broadcasted games made my nights.
    No other team has announcers who are as big of homers as these two dudes and who fight and throw shots at each other ALL night.

  • AB_40

    oh so you can only watch the bad games and if you want the realy good ones you still have to record it or watch it from some pirate stream.

  • Patrick

    for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a day…

  • http://www.dimemag.com Jeff Chen

    LOL reason 19 is very true.

  • Heckler…formerly ‘Yallallreadyknow’

    i got the “HotBox” hookup for anyone who wants it.
    cash only

    For $150, i can get you sunday ticket also.
    And yes, I mean without getting the directv dish!

    ..and finally, yes. they do still have hotboxes. i have 2010 versions that work with most (although not all) cable providers and are compatible with satelitte programming


  • s.bucketz

    ^^^ is that dime’s resident hustle man or something??
    i like the shout out to clyde…more people should know bout his hustle and muscle on the mic

  • nowwhatyo

    if you do fantasy basketball, league pass will definitely help you during your season.

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    you forgot

    #21: judging the local fans from 30 different cities — diverse (G-dubs), quiet as fuck (lakers), super white (but ridiculously loud (utah), serious talent in the stands (miami), will boo/cheer for anything (knicks), etc.

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    I meant #21

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    God, being post call sucks. I mean #22 !!!

  • Kareem

    Co-sign number 6. I’m in Lebanon and I’ve got to listen to radio streams sometimes if I want to catch a game. Additionally, the Knicks’ announcers are solid.

  • haslem

    over the years ive seen that Dirk picture on Dime like a thousand times. All good, but Dime seems to recycle pictures for a magazine that does photoshoots that seems pretty funny.

    but good list and a huge dirk fan so its all good.

  • UncheckedAggression

    This is a fun list, but one thing caught my eye (in a bad way). I’ve been watching Jerry Reynolds do the Sac games since I was a kid. That man is a freaking moron. The only entertainment I get from his commentating is when he says thing that make absolutely no sense. Then you can laugh at the guy. And Napear is one of the worst announcers I have ever heard. Listening to the two of those guys during games can make you go insane.

    “Putting tape on Bobby Jackson is like putting tape on steel. He’s the real deal.”–actual quote from Jerry Reynolds

  • S-SiN

    different cheerleading groups!

  • Josh

    If you think Joe Johnson is in the same class as Brandon Roy then you clearly need to watch a bit more LP yourself. And I’m a Hawks fan.

  • Tone

    I live in Japan and NBA Pass for $200 U.S. gives you a whole ONE game a day. That`s it!! Until changes are made, will continue to stream.

  • http://funnyordie.com/ethanwhite Ethan

    For local announcers, I would like to nominate Eric Reid and Tony Fiorrentino of the Heat as most like a cartoon. They are unintentionally hilarious

  • http://www.dimemag.com A-Slam

    i stole sattelite signals for a while and got all of league pass and nfl season ticket for free, sadly no more hacks so it’s back to nothing but raptors games

  • Colton

    i want it so bad but im gonna probably be all moved in with the girlfriend come basketball season and me with league pass means no quality time which means no poonanny and more bitching … ???? hmmmm? i need to get her to like basketball more then my world would be perfect! haha.

  • driggs

    buy that shit and share it with friends…someone had to say it…

  • Reno

    Yo Austin,

    Me and my boys always thought you did Smack each day, but did you just openly admit it when you said ‘do a basketball column every day’ or am I smoking some sticky icky icky to think that?

  • Beantown

    Anybody that does not list the Denver crew as the biggest homers have never actually subscribed to League Pass. Scott Hastings is brutal-as bad, or worse, at announcing as he was at actually playing basketball. The only redeeming quality the have is that Youtube video of them being awestruck by a hot cheerleader

    Best announcer that you don’t get to hear anymore is Kevin Calabro (RIP Sonics).


  • charles


    HIT ME UP 347-325-3419

  • Jon

    I had to take a Leave of Absence from college this winter, and NBA LP got me through the cold months. And the spring, actually. Being able to cue up upto 3 games at once, switching among them and others as games pull away or get interesting, panning to find the classic of the night, there’s nothing like it. They prorate it as the season goes on, so I probably won’t spend for the early package, given how little early NBA action matters for anything. But once it hits 99, I’m cuing it up and living the high life.

    Oh, and on homer announcers, I haven’t heard anyone worse than Portlands. NO’s are big homers, but in a harmless kind of way. I have to mute any Blazers home games, because I just can’t stand how much the announcers b*tch and whine over calls and players. Late season warriors and kings last year was amazing though, as the announcers know they don’t have to talk about the games past the first half, and just relate interesting things about basketball. They’re doing their own thing, and its awesome.

  • BMW

    Eric Reid’s the man

  • BMW


  • Big V

    They need to broadcast more games in HD.