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Things I hate about the NBA

Things I hate about the NBA

How many times a game does this happen? A player dribbles to the rim and clearly gets clobbered in the act of shooting an otherwise easy layup — but the nearest referee sucks on his whistle, waiting to see if the shot is made or missed. If the former, no foul call is forthcoming. If the latter, then the call is made. This kind of stuff infuriated me when I was coaching, whether the conditional call would be good or bad for the good guys. After all, a foul is a foul is ...

Floppers. Here's my non-floppers proposal: If all three refs agree that an egregious flop did indeed occur, then the flopper should be charged with a personal as well as a technical foul.

No matter what kind of offensive move a player makes in the low post — duck-under, reverse-pivot, step-through, seal-and-spin, or what have you — Not-So-Marvelous Marv Albert always calls it a "drop step." Will somebody please educate this guy?

Guys who thump their hearts, beat their chests, or are guilty of any other variety of look-at-me antics after performing even the most commonplace dunk shot. If touchdown-makers in football are penalized for excessive celebrations, then their dunkster counterparts should be T-ed up for excessive displays of egotism.

Injuries to any athletes are distressful, but none so much as Yao Ming's latest leg woes. Because last summer's Olympics were held in Beijing, Yao wasn't granted sufficient time to heal the leg injury he'd suffered while playing with the Houston Rockets. Indeed, it was clear that Yao was limping during the opening ceremonies. So Yao was forced to undergo complicated post-Olympic surgery in an attempt to salvage his career. In other words, the basketball future of a humble, personable and talented 29-year-old was seriously jeopardized for purely political reasons. Even if Yao returns to NBA action, chances are his game will be drastically diminished. That stinks!

Referees who overreact when big players and little players collide. Of course, the little guys will get the worst of the contact, usually getting bounced to the floorboards. It's only natural. Try running full speed into a brick wall and see what happens. But too many refs automatically toot the bigger player for a flagrant foul. In the vast majority of cases, this is blatantly unfair. How just would it be if quick players were penalized for driving past slow players?

An overreliance on statistics by players, agents, the media and even many prominent NBA decision-makers. In so doing, these guys are focusing on the sizzle and not on the steak. And this is one major reason why the off-the-ball heart-of-the-game has been so devalued and why NBA action has been so dumbed down in recent years.

Players (and their agents) who have an inflated opinion of their own worth like Stephon Marbury, David Lee and Nate Robinson. But most sadly, Hamed Haddadi, who identifies himself as "a star." It's guys like these who want more playing time, more shots, more commercial endorsements and better contracts — all of which are admirable goals but not at the expense of rational thinking.

The NBA All-Star Game is akin to a baseball game in which there are only two outfielders, three infielders and both sides have batting practice pitchers on the mound. It's supposed to be fun to witness razzle-dazzle passes, dunk after dunk and acrobatic shots — all of them artificial and meaningless. Fans only interested in watching hooptime spectacles are advised to visit any number of playgrounds all over the country. In the word of sports, authentic competition is fun, reality is fun, grace under pressure is fun. Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I'd rather spend my precious time eyeballing a regular-season game between the T-Wolves and Kings.

Last but certainly not least, I dislike fans who blindly worship certain teams and players to the point where even the mildest (and constructive) criticism of their favorites provoke them into vehement furies of hatred that should be reserved for serial killers. You know who you are. Hey, lighten up y'all, and pay more attention to living your own lives.

Next column: Things I love about the NBA.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: September 2, 2009


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