I'll admit it: I started watching sports because of men. Watching soccer with my dad helped us develop the bond we share now. Throughout elementary school, my fellow female classmates seemed obsessed with stickers. It was a nation of little Lisa Frank's and I just couldn't get interested in it, but at 9, nothing was more interesting than a game of basketball or running until I just couldn't run anymore. When boys became more than playmates, the cool thing to do was to be the girlfriend who pulled out tickets to a Knicks game (no matter how badly they suck) rather than tickets to the ballet or to suggest watching Sports Center instead of a Lifetime movie. And, of course, playing a game of softball with a group of friends or jogging together is always a better activity than whatever else it is couples do. Perhaps I'm not giving myself enough credit. Maybe I just like sports... Yes. I just like sports, whether I'm actually playing something or watching it. It's not a gender thing... it's a human interest thing.
So, how could I be completely unaware that the NBA playoffs started? Really. When did they start and who is playing? Apparently, I'm not the only one who just doesn't seem to have a clue or care... Perhaps I've been distracted by traffic on the Major Deegan while driving to and from work, the gym and my house. (Thank you Yankees. Spring is here and so is the baseball season!) Or maybe I was trying to eliminate the phrase "nappy headed ho" from my everyday use. Was it the excitement that seems to have been given to the NFL draft and misbehaving NFL players and players-to-be that got me all jacked up in the game? Can I blame Sanjaya for my problems. Perhaps it's been the weather or tragedies on college campuses. I don't know why, and I really don't care. Perhaps, just maybe there is the slight possibility that Kobe's 50+ point games aren't interesting anymore. There is always the chance that news of additions to the NBA's injury lists gets boring and takes away from the game. Maybe there are too many teams in the playoffs that don't deserve to be there. It could be that the Eastern Conference is a disgrace. Heck, I don't even know if the real pride of Mt. Vernon, NY (Ben Gordon) is playing in the playoffs. The Bulls made it right?
But it's not just the playoffs. Wasn't basketball just boring this year? Hasn't it been lame for a few seasons? I grew up watching a league of giants. Where's my Bird now proving that white men can jump? No one else has the all-encompassing magic of Jordan (please, I can't take another LeBron comparison). I must (regrettably) admit that AI got less interesting with the crazy antics. Chris Webber is not so cute when he's losing. Jason Kidd, while a great player, is heavily associated with his team because he's such a team player, and I don't like the Nets because they are coming to Brooklyn. Sadly... no personality (while, I too had high hopes for Arenas) can match those that really got me into the league, if not the game.
Well, you don't have to agree with me. Dan Steinman, editor of the Washington Post's D.C. Sports Blog says a possible cure for the NBA could be to "cut the length of the series, especially those first-rounders that often aren't competitive." He continues...
"I'd say the problem is the same it's been for years: a regular season that's more bloated than an American Idol results show, and first-round playoff series that last longer than some marriages," he said. "It's just hard to get pumped after all that basketball, and with all that basketball still to go. At a minimum, they should go back to best-of-5 in the first round, which will never happen. Or better yet, best-of-3. That would indisputably add some life to the first round."
Yes, it does seem like NBA basketball goes on forever, sometimes anti-climatically or finally climaxing when I've already lost interest and moved on (yet another connection to my relationship with men... hmmm), especially when there are so many other sports to devote time and energy to.
So maybe next year, NBA. By this time next year, we'll have inaugurated a new president, encountered another natural disaster (I'm not predicting or wishing it happens, but it's likely), and dethroned another one of Hollywood's "it" girls. Perhaps that will give the league the motivation it needs to compete for my attention.