The NBA lockout has been in full, collective-bargaining swing since mid-summer, and it’s becoming more and more possible that there won’t be any 2011-2012 season at all.
I don’t. And I’m sure there are many other true basketball fans who don’t either. Now, I don’t say this because I’m one of those “I only watch college basketball, and the NBA is nothing but overpaid college dropouts playing 1-on-1, dunking and shooting 3s” type of fans. I love the NBA. Sure, it has its pros and cons (no pun intended), but I still love it. It’s the absolute highest level of basketball in the world, the best playing the best.
But I think I could live without it for a year.
In anticipation of a shortened or non-existent season, what’s happening? NBA stars from around the league are teaming up to play in professional leagues overseas, basketball SUPERSTARS are filling tiny gyms all over the country to play astronomically elite pick-up games, and Kevin Durant is burning gyms straight to the ground (if Rucker Park had a roof, I think it’s safe to say 66 points would’ve blown it off).
These players are going back to their roots and playing for the game’s foundational reward, pride and respect. They’re putting city vs. city (L.A. vs. D.C., Philly vs. Baltimore) to see which part of the country has the best ballers. Carmelo Anthony grabbed his best NBA buds, Bron and CP3, to short out scoreboards against KD and crew in Maryland last week. And apparently the cancelled NBA summer League in Las Vegas has been reborn into a NBA-only fall league.
So, what’s the problem here? Superior basketball is still being played, and all that I need is to be able to see it. Since ESPN and TNT apparently are going to have some weekly time slots opening up, here’s an idea: go televise these games! A few highlights of Team Melo vs. Team Durant from Morgan State on Sportscenter aren’t enough to quench my basketball thirst. I need the whole thing.
Go to Baltimore, go to Turkey, go to any high school gym or rec center necessary and give us an opportunity to see our stars in a different light. Follow @KingJames on Twitter, get the up-to-date time and location and have your cameras ready. Put your Bones and Hawthorne episodes on hold, and tell Ernie, Kenny and Chuck to grab their blazers because basketball will be played this year. We just don’t really know where.
Follow me on Twitter @Long_And_Gangly