Stranger Fruit

I don’t watch NBA basketball. I don’t watch NCAA basketball. I used to play basketball in high school and played club basketball in college (Ireland doesn’t have the same college scene as here). The reason why I don’t watch is something Chad has hit upon when talking about Davidson’s run for the "final four":

Basketball isn’t just about amazing physical feats– it’s about knowledge and planning and execution, and a team that plays the game well can hang with (and sometimes beat) vastly superior individual athletes. That’s more impressive to me than any acrobatic highlight-reel dunk.

Basketball – especially the pros – has become one "acrobatic highlight-reel dunk" after another. And I miss the old days.


  1. #1 Stuart Denham
    March 31, 2008

    I totally agree, I used to stay up until 2-3am here in Australia when cable would show the NBA playoffs but after a few years it became more worthwhile to watch a 5 minute highlights reels than put in the effort. The technical flair always outweighed just out and out showiness for me.

    If you want to step back in time take a look at NBL here in Aus, a lot more enjoyable to watch nowadays.

  2. #2 PhysioProf
    March 31, 2008

    I do watch college hoops, but I don’t see how anyone can watch the pros. It is about as interesting as professional “wrestling”. Well, I guess that explains why it is so popular. People in this country really like fake-ass cartoon shit.

  3. #3 Sam C
    March 31, 2008

    Isn’t basketball one of those games that’s great fun to play, but isn’t really suitable for spectating?

    The fact that any type of game can be played with a very high level of skill does not mean that it is necessarily good to watch as a spectator — obviously some people are always going to be interested, if only to pick up tips to improve their own play. Squash and badminton would fall into the same category, highly skillful, great to play, dull to watch.

    For a non-afficionado, there’s little interest in watching a group of grotesquely tall men lope around bouncing a ball, wriggling a bit and scoring about 100 times in a game.

    Ball games need to be “balanced” so that scores are earned by skill, guile, athleticism, luck. To a non-fan, a basketball game is run-bounce-score, run-bounce-score, run-bounce-score, with an occasional run-bounce-miss. It needs fewer scores, so that each score is a small victory worth celebrating. In his book The Glory Game, Nick Hornby pointed out that a large part of the attraction of soccer to afficionados is the repeated disappointment of scoring chances not being turned into goals, which heightens the elation when a goal is suddenly scored.

  4. #4 RBH
    March 31, 2008

    I ceased to enjoy NCAA Div I and NBA basketball when they moved away from being a non-contact sport.

  5. #5 Aquaria
    April 5, 2008

    And the ultimate irony is that the NBA teams that play the closest to “old school” basketball–stick to the fundamentals and execute them well, concentrate on defense, be smart on the court (adapt strategy to conditions)–are the ones that consistently win. What’s the big complaint from pinhead analysts and spectators about the San Antonio Spurs being in the championship game (besides low ratings)? They’re so boring. They don’t do “fancy” dunks and crazy stunts (well…except for Ginobili).

    They might be boring and might stick to the basics, but that’s why they win.

  6. #6 Tim B.
    April 28, 2008

    They either need to institute a height restriction of 6′ for players or raise the goal to 15′.

New comments have been disabled.