In the new issue of Dime Magazine, we took a look at the best – and worst – the game has offered since the turn of the century. From the players to jerseys to sneakers to teams to even trends, you can relive the past 12 years by scooping up the new issue currently on newsstands nationwide. In those pages, you’ll find the following feature…
*** *** ***
You wouldn’t be reading, and we wouldn’t be writing about basketball if it weren’t a sport so easy to love. The players keep the game new but the undercurrents of tradition tie it to the legends who came before. The barriers of entry – just a ball, really – are so low it inspires anyone to pick it up and try to reach the dizzying ceiling of its stars can. It is timeless and under constant renovation at the same time. That persistent evolution isn’t just for show, though; it’s weeding out what can’t survive. The game isn’t perfect.
Since Dime was born, we’ve brought you as close as possible to the game we love. That doesn’t mean, however, that we haven’t kept track of what we’ve seen and the ways to make it better. These 10 trends since 2000 are things the game could do without.
*** *** ***
10. TEAM MOVING
The NBA exists because of the fans. Though ticket prices went up right after the lockout ended by 4 percent over 2011, while League Pass was only $3 less for 16 fewer games last season, the biggest injustice for the fans is having their team move away. Sacramento fans are only the latest to go through the kind of heartbreak Vancouver and Seattle fans also endured in the past 12 years. We don’t condemn the NBA for wanting to make money, but if there were a way to have the fans of the current city in mind as much as the promises of the city council from the wooing city, we’re all ears. How about, for example, of locking in teams to a guaranteed 15-year stay to start? The six years it took the Grizzlies to arrive and bolt from Vancouver certainly doesn’t strike us as a big enough sample size. One way to inspire confidence that the NBA is serious about it? Take Clay Bennett, the man behind the Sonics move, off the NBA Relocation Committee.
9. DUNK CONTEST/ALL-STAR WEEKEND
We need All-Star Weekend to mean something. With the dunk contest swinging between relevant and unwatchable more than an EKG reading, it’s time to correct it. Appealing to business senses might be the only way to get it that way. In short: let’s get the dunk contest back to Vince Carter-levels and the game itself to mean something. First, let’s change the dunk contest’s format by ditching the idea that fan voting should be the only vote, and reinstall a panel of star judges. Next, ditch Kenny “The Jet” Smith for a different MC. Smith’s peak was calling “It’s ova!” for Carter in Golden State. That was over a decade ago. How about we sign Spike Lee up instead? Most importantly, bring in an outside challenger to compete against the pros and put up a $1 million cash prize for the winner (it won’t be much to a superstar, but to mid-level dunkers, that’s a wad of cash). With pride and dollars on the line and the chance to see someone like the incredible Jus Fly take on the NBA, we’d see crazy imagination.
With the arena still buzzing a day after the dunks ended, the game would tip off with NBA Finals homecourt advantage on the line, too. You’re still going to get the same dunk display like every other All-Star Game this way, but the fourth quarter will mean more than just a token title.