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.
Awesome post man, I couldn’t agree more. I think basketball in general has an urban feel to it, but I wouldn’t really say college hoops has less of an urban feel than the pros. Colin is a huge front runner, and I’m kind of surprised he even acknowledged smaller schools and weaker teams in the NBA!
I don’t think tattoos or cry baby attitudes on calls makes people dislike hoops, it’s the free throw contests at the end of games that seem to be the biggest complaint of people I come across…
Colin Cowherd and Kornheiser about as adept when it comes sports analysis and journalism as Sarah Palin is with constitutional law and domestic policy. In other words they’re all as dumb as a box f_ckin’ rocks !
I’d hate to hear their thoughts on the civil rights era and what went on when ‘ Bear’ Bryant was coaching in football and Rupp was coaching college basketball ! Because knowing those as_holes they’d have felt that their actions weren’t that bad and they’d have been all too sympathetic !
That is exactly the point, college basketball is every bit as “urban” – just look at the players. “Urban” ain’t the NBA’s problem, despite all the bleating you are hearing today about the Carmelo Anthony trade.
Here’s the thing – no matter what you do, there are going to be winners and losers. Some teams are going to make money, and some teams aren’t. But for the NBA to remain viable, they need to do the three things I mentioned earlier.
The Anthony trade exemplifies this. The Nuggets are broke, and are dumping salary. This is why part if that deal was the Nuggets getting $3 million in cash. This is why the NBA needs to address the issue of such franchises by getting rid of them or moving them. At the same time, it is time to take a look at the league revenue’s form a “big-picture” perspective, The Lakers and the Celtics need the Nuggets and the Pacers to be at least competitive, otherwise this league turns into the Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals. I’m not at all saying you need parody, because that’s an even worse case scenario, but the NBA has far too many franchises like baseball’s Pirates and Royals that are ruining the attraction of the brand.
Where does Oklahoma City fit into this equation?
That’s a great question because for the longest time, the NBA was succeeding in the “smaller” cities that really could only support one pro sports franchise. Even today, they have more franchises that fit that description than any other of the “big” leagues. Now with the financial problems gripping the Sacramento Kings, is this a warning for places like Portland, Salt Lake City, and Memphis?
Or is this just a case of franchises that have been mismanaged? San Antonio and Orlando seem to make it work. Does that mean new ownership could make a run at success in cities currently without pro sports, such as Louisville, Birmingham, or (gasp) Las Vegas?
Or do they go to cities that just don’t have the NBA, like Kansas City, St. Louis, Cincinnati, or Pittsburgh.
Or, do we decide that certain markets could support multiple franchises, such as the Kings-to-Anaheim rumor, thus putting three teams in Greater LA area. If you do that, which markets would get another NBA franchise? Could New York support three teams? Could Chicago support two?
But to get back to your question, I think OKC could be the “canary in the coal mine” for the NBA. They fled one city, and I think they can succeed so long as they can remain competitive. If they slip into becoming another dumpster fire like Sacramento, Denver, or New Orleans, I think you will see the NBA abandon the “smaller” city model entirely.
I just can’t imagine Stern allowing the Maloofs to pick up and leave town. I’ll be surprised if this happens as quickly as most think it will.
Cowherd exists to stir the pot. Nothing more and nothing less. He has admitted as much on several occasions. CC is only interested in whatever issue/topic/incendiary viewpoint will get him attention and notoriety. Jason Whitlock even thinks Cowherd is an attention whore.
I disagree with the contention that there are only 5 teams worth watching in the NBA though. Even Kevin Love and the moribund Minnesota T-Wolves are (somewhat) fun to watch this season.
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cowherd is an apt description for what’s between his ears.
he and beadle are both morons. i watched sportsnation just long enough to figure out they were dimwits.
Call _me a racist for not liking _stoopid white people.
And yes, I am white.