The games are boring. They don’t even try on defense. All they do is dunk. If this sounds like you, I hear you. I used to feel the same way. The NBA is an acquired taste, like a Gorilla Glue cannabis strain. You’re either going to love Ja Morant’s 360 layups or think they’re too much. Personally, “The Association” took a while to come back to me, and now I spend my time euro stepping through life. This article is going to identify three reasons why the NBA is underrated.
There is no star power quite like the association. Athletes like LeBron James, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan can prove bigger than the sport itself.
Except for the Premier League, LaLiga, and other high levels of international soccer, it feels like hoopers hold supreme. Unless you’re Tom Brady, of course.
One reason for the high marketability of basketball players is because you can actually see their faces during live action.
We all saw Kawhi Leonard get into his “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” pose as the ball ricocheted on the rim four times before falling through the net.
But what follows next is the good stuff.
We then saw the normally stoic Leonard break into a spiritual yell upon realization he had just sent his team to the NBA Finals.
It may prove difficult to replicate this moment in other sports.
Facial recognition could also play a prominent role in the marketing of basketball brands such as “Air Jordan.”
In 2019, “The Nike Air Jordan Brand was estimated to be worth three-billion dollars.”
Smarter Than You Think
The average basketball fan may not understand the complexity of the game, but you’re smarter than that.
At the NBA level, a player may be left open because he shoots 30 percent from downtown rather than 37.
Think back to the 2014-15 Golden State Warriors. Draymond Green often found himself wide open because of the attention given to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Green shot 33.7 percent from beyond the arc that season.
But what about all the dunks? Is it a byproduct of wa-lesh defense (think bullfighting)? Or is it superior athleticism on display?
It probably falls somewhere in the middle, but here are some of the intricacies involved in defending a simple NBA set.
For example, the pick-and-roll.
When defending the most basic play in the game, it all starts with help-side defense. If the help is late, you’ll get dunked on.
If Brandon Knight’s rotation was three steps earlier, he could’ve put a body into DeAndre Jordan, stopping the alley-oop.
Knight also should’ve understood that a Matt Barnes three-pointer is a shot you can live with. In 2012-13, Barnes shot 34.2 percent from three.
Keeping this in mind, Knight’s feet should’ve already been under the hoop the second Chris Paul’s dribble touched the Staples Center logo.
Instead, he’s America’s favorite poster.
Black Lives Matter
First off, let’s give credit where credit’s due. The WNBA is probably the most prominent organization in regards to advancing the Black Lives Matter movement.
But the NBA contributes as well.
Most notably, and often overlooked, is when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play their playoff game against the Orlando Magic in 2020 in response to the “police shooting of Jacob Blake in nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin.”
Even though both teams participated in the holdout, the Bucks had more to lose. They were the No. 1 seed in the East during “The Bubble.”
But it’s not just them; the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) had made strides beyond the court.
Some of their actions include donating $250,000 to organizations that support voter turnout, creating a player-based voter registration database, and hosting guest speakers to raise awareness of equity issues.
In other words, they’re doing everything in their power to give their people a voice.