What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
It’s no secret that I like to have a radio on in my office while I do what it is that I do, and every once in a while I hear something that I find truly provocative that it rattles around in my head until it falls on to my keyboard.
This morning, ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd made an observation about who watches the National Basketball Association versus College Basketball. His theory is since the NBA is seen as more “urban” and college basketball is more “comfortable” amongst the rural crowd, there is some bigotry involved in why certain people do not like the NBA. Let’s be honest; we all know for what “urban” is a code word.
The problem is some people might claim that is the only reason; to do so misses a very important point. The NBA is an “urban” league because of where it’s “marquee” franchises are. Face it, its no coincidence the top four NBA franchises in terms of value are in metropolitan areas with the highest “urban” populations. While college basketball has teams in all locales, it has lots of “urban” players. Check out the population demographics on Lafayette, Indiana. While it is the home to Purdue, it is decidedly not “urban.” However, you can’t get much more “urban” than E’Twuan Moore or JaJuan Johnson.
To me, that fact says “urban” isn’t the NBA’s problem. Rather I would suggest it has more to do with the level of competition each offers. Where I live, my college v. NBA viewing choices are Purdue, a team that is historically competitive versus the Indiana Pacers, a team that frankly isn’t very good. I’d rather watch good college basketball rather than bad professional basketball. “Rural” America is full of these sort of choices. If you live in Columbus, would you rather watch Ohio State or the Cleveland Cavaliers?
However, the only thing worse than a bad choice is no choice. In short, the NBA simply doesn’t have good teams in “rural” America. For example, Kansans are crazy for basketball, but Kansas City has no team; the NBA abandoned it years ago for Sacramento, where it is failing. Out of the last ten NBA Champions, only one is not from “urban” America, the San Antonio Spurs.
I may be just another Hot Pocket Eater, Mr. Cowherd, but I might suggest that if the NBA wants fans in “rural” America, they should put some teams worth watching out here in “fly-over” country. There’s a swath of cities where ownership with some creativity could make a run toward success; a better run than many current franchises are making. I don’t want to get into the minutia of such a plan at this time, but at the conceptual level it would involve a combination of relocation and/or contraction, revenue sharing, and a revamping of the draft and free-agency so that it becomes economically viable for a Cleveland to hang on to a LeBron AND put a supporting cast around a star. I don’t know exactly how to do that; but there are guys with much larger brains for this sort of stuff who do.You are due for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement; the time to do this is now.
So, let’s get the right team of guys together, let’s get franchises into cities that really want them so there are more than 5 cities with NBA teams worth watching. That way, I don’t have to get called a “racist” for not being interested in a sub-par product.