Hello again! Last time I spoke of how I fell in love with basketball. Today I will discuss how I grew to hate basketball.
After the glorious 80's ended, the 90's came about. To me the 90's were a harsh, depressing, dark and in your face kind of decade. I remember just feeling this endless tension in the air. Change was coming about, and it wasn't going to be good.
I have a theory as to why basketball came to change. I blame a few entities......ESPN's Sports Center, Gatorade, the NBA on NBC, Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant and the Michigan Fab Five.
At first I blame the Fab Five because of how they brought the baggy shorts to basketball. I always liked the short shorts. It was a conservative and classic look. Then the baggy shorts caught on elsewhere and eventually caught on to the NBA.
Next Gatorade. The "Be Like Mike" ad campaign singled out Michael Jordan. Jordan was EVERYWHERE in the 90's. Books, magazines, TV shows, movies, posters, shoes, underwear ads, hotdog commercials. It was as if Michael Jordan was the ONLY player in the NBA.
The NBA was a TEAM game in the 80's. It became a ME game in the 90's. And no one personified the ME game then Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant. They were selfish ballhogs, Kobe still is as a matter of fact. Allen Iverson felt like he was so good, he didn't need to practice. Can you imagine for the rest of his life, the "we're talking about practice" sound bite is all he'll be known for. I saw him play in person once. He could flat out play. But he was selfish with the ball.
As for Kobe, I grew up a Lakers fan. I loved the Showtime Lakers. They we're the definition of team. Then eventually Showtime ended. The last two letters in Showtime is ME, Kobe's favorite word.
I never liked his selfish style of play. During the Shaq/Kobe soap opera, I sided with Shaq. Say what you will about Shaq. Some see him as I see Kobe. But Shaq was the only reason I remained a Lakers fan. After Shaq left, it was Kobe's team. Well, it was Kobe and the other Lakers. I have hated the Lakers since.
Next up, the NBA on NBC. When the NBA was growing and prospering in the 80's, CBS did a phenomenal job of showcasing the entire league. But once NBC got the NBA contract, it was if the only teams in the league were the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Houston Rockets. It became a Jordan love fest. It became so boring. Then you add that nutjob Ahmad Rashad talking about hanging with Jordan (Jim Rome would joke Rashad was Jordan's bitch) and it was pathetic. So I stopped watching.
Finally it leaves me with ESPN's SportsCenter. Of course it was endless Jordan. But what bothered me was how ESPN featured dunks. It got so bad, it was all you would see during basketball highlights. So the 10 second dunk highlights changed the way the game was played. Forget passing and getting assists, it was Dunk City.
Now the tail end of the selfish style of play is fading away. Kobe is the last remnant of those days. I just never cared for the hip hop, street ball style of play. It was more of an east coast thing.
Now when I watch, I see passing, I see jump shots, I see team play. I see a beautiful game now.