Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
For the last month I have listened to Mike Greenberg incessantly complain about the Big Three taking some time off at the end of the season. Is taking the amount of time off they did a little excessive? Probably. Does them doing so potentially have a negative impact on some youngster’s experience at an NBA game? Probably. Should the league step in and intervene? Absolutely not! In the following paragraphs, I hope to provide some clarity as to where the blame should lie and who should spearhead the solutions to this lazy player epidemic that seems to be sweeping modern day sports.
I have heard everybody say that the NBA needs to get involved to prevent players from taking time off at the end of the season and resting up for the playoffs. Every solution from fines to changes in scheduling has been suggested, and I’m here to say that every one of these proposed solutions is pure crap. The NBA needs to leave everything as it is…end of story for their involvement as far as I’m concerned.
What does need to change in all of this? I suggest three things: the players, the parents, and maybe the owners.
For starters, the players need to play. I’m not going to pretend that every player should play every game if they are healthy, and that fines should be assessed to those players who take a night off. I mean really, they could sidestep those rules so fast that it would make your head spin. What I am suggesting is that as a rule, players are paid to play…so they should get their butt out on the court and play. Every one of us calls in sick or takes a day off from time to time, but for the majority of the time we show up. So take a day off if you need it, and stay away if you have no intention of working that day. Don’t tease the fans by warming up before the game. I don’t take a vacation day from work and then go sit in the break area and watch everyone else work…and neither should you. When I put myself in recharge mode, the last place I want to be is at work. If you want a day off, then treat yourselves to a true day off.
Secondly, parents need to explain to their kids this simple idea: going to a sporting event is a privilege, not an entitlement. Parents also need to teach their kids another simple idea: we go to a game to watch the team, not the player. When their focus is off from the start, disappointment is sure to follow.
When I was a kid, we were poor. There, I said it. We didn’t live in our car or anything, but my parents didn’t have hundreds of dollars to drop on court side tickets and hotel rooms whenever I felt like going to a game. I knew that when we actually went to a game, it was a big deal. The first professional sporting event I ever attended was a major league baseball game between Detroit and Cleveland at Tiger Stadium. We took a family vacation to Detroit…which should say all you need to know about our financial situation during my childhood…but I digress. That game was absolutely incredible because I finally got to see all those teams I watched on television every day. Getting to see some of the big name players was just a bonus to me. Of course, my definition of a big name player was probably a little different when I was a kid…but again…I digress. At any rate, it’s a memory that I still hold dear to this day. Parents just need to teach their kids a little bit of contentment. I mean really, how many kids these days would be satisfied with a family vacation to Detroit? Parents…I think it’s time for you to get involved in fixing the NBA by fixing your kids.
Lastly, to the owners, the fans of your teams know your players and will show up to watch them, so there’s no need to market the players as heavily as you do. We all know who plays for what team, so don’t treat us like we’re stupid. This especially goes out to teams that use the Miami Heat to drum up ticket sales. What does it say about your team if you need to advertise the other team’s players to get butts in seats? Get better players. I’m all about making money when and where you can, but the goal is to compete, not to sponge off of the success of others. Owners…step up your game.
As a whole, this issue reflects the “me first” mentality that has gripped our society. Kids get the treat of having hundreds of dollars spent to make their night special, and then they have the audacity to complain that a player didn’t play? Shame on you! I understand the initial disappointment of not seeing your favorite player, but order another grape slushie and get over it. You still have a fun night ahead of you. You still get to see sports being played at the highest level. Stop whining you little jack wagons!