BEHIND THE PLATE: NBA free agency hides real sports news
Where’s LeBron James going? The Heat? The Cavs?
The NBA never sleeps, especially after the season concluded last month as San Antonio won the title over Miami. It hasn’t even been 30 days and it seems like that championship happened 10 years ago. Instead, all the talk is about players who are trying to find a fit with a winning team so that they can hoist the trophy in June next year.
Professional basketball continues to become irrelevant as it competes with football in the fall and early winter and then baseball in the spring. Instead of focusing on which team has the greatest chances of not only winning a title but also building a dynasty like the Lakers 10 years ago or even the Bulls during the 1990s, we’re stuck listening to ESPN tracking the whereabouts of LeBron or Carmello Anthony like it’s Christmas Eve and where Santa’s sled is heading.
No one cares anymore.
Since when did this free agent buzz start taking over headlines of major sporting events, especially the World Cup?
On Wednesday night, ESPN’s ticker — where the lead stories are shown — the World Cup result between the Netherlands and Argentina wasn’t first or even second. No, it was an update that LeBron was done meeting with teams after talking to Heat President Pat Riley. Next was Anthony and where he will end up, as a Laker or back with the Knicks.
ESPN, the leader in sports, isn’t the only culprit as most national sports media outlets focus more on the NBA free agency than what else is going on in the world, like soccer, Wimbledon or even the Yankees losing their top pitcher to the DL. Yahoo! Sports’ first five headlines on Thursday dealt with the NBA while CBS Sports’ top headlines also involved the NBA, but its centerpiece was a column focusing on whether the Red Sox were dead in the AL East.
The point is not whether free agency is news to report, but the overwhelming and exhausting updates from the national media are portrayed to take away some of the excitement going on elsewhere.
Yes, the United States soccer team was ousted in the World Cup but all the attention was on a resurgence of soccer interest because the country was hanging in with some of the best teams in the world. As soon as the United States lost, the attention was on basketball.
Forget baseball. If you want highlights, just grab your smartphone and visit the team’s website for the two-minute video game recap.
And forget the NFL or college football, which is a month away from games as the Seahawks look to defend their title, while college fans rejoice about the new four-team playoff and end of the BCS.
I loved the NBA when I was growing up. It was fun and exciting to watch on TV and then hop over to a nearby court and play against the neighbors. Some of the best players in the history of the game headlined the league including Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Reggie Miller. But the NBA has lost focus over the years, making a bigger deal about free agency than celebrating a team defeating King James for the second time in four years for the championship.
The basketball season is over. Give it a rest and who cares about the King?
It’s time for some baseball and football.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at email@example.com.