Is Global Warming Killing Basketball?

Blogging sucks. I just spent a half hour writing something that now seems to have disappeared.

I know that I started with this interesting article about global warming. Not only are we getting hotter, and our water levels are rising, but a lot of our species are disappearing, getting confused, and not understanding what to do with summer in March. Global warming is important, and basketball is exactly the kind of thing where we now have a species mis-match. Summer is for slow sports. It’s for sports that you can drink beer and eat a hot dog (or tofu puff–remember, the earth is getting hotter) while playing. It’s why we don’t watch Olympic basketball unless every living legend is on the team, and even then, only if we lost the time before. It’s why we don’t watch the WNBA. It’s why nobody in Miami cares about the Heat, and no one in Atlanta cares about the Hawks. It’s why the Clippers left San Diego. It’s why we preferred to watch OJ drive down the 405 to John Starks going 0-11 from 3-point range in game 7. (If it wasn’t the same day, it was close; I can only put so much time into fact checking).

It’s bad enough that March Madness is happening in 70 degree weather. The NBA season can’t keep ending in late June. Four suggestions.

1. Shorten the season to 58 games. This year is 66 and no one cares about the missing 16. Go 8 more.

2. Play back-to-back days when there’s no travel.

3. Shorten the amount of playoff teams from 16 to 8. This one is controversial, I know. But look at what happens in the east. Four teams get kicked out and we don’t care about any of them. Atlanta and Indiana. No one cares. Kick out the 76ers from the 4 spot and substitute either the Celtics or the Knicks, and your done. This is the post-Chris Paul era; the post-Tim Duncan goes to San Antonio era; the post-Shaq doesn’t foul any Kings era; the post, Cleveland gets the first pick with a cute kid in a bow-tie selecting on the year after they lost LeBron era. There are no set rules.

In the west, you then have seven teams fighting for a playoff spot with 14 games to go. That’s awesome. The last two weeks of the season haven’t mattered for decades, and now they do.

It’s equally awesome writing blog posts for an audience of 2. Not even my parents know about this. No limits.

4. Get rid of 8 teams entirely. In the east, Atlanta, Charlotte, Milwaukee, and Toronto. I’ll reconsider if I hear one vote against this from someone not living in one of these four cities. In the west, Sacramento, Memphis, New Orleans…and Oklahoma City. The last one, I admit, is a tough one. But send Durant, Perkins, and Harden to the Celtics, and Westbrook, Ibaka, and Sefolosha to the Lakers, and I don’t think its much of a problem anymore. Or, merge the Thunder with the Trailblazers and put them back in Seattle.

I think, in the blog world, it’s about time for a picture.

 

Hearing about Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton midfielder, collapsing on the field due to heart problems immediately brought me back to Reggie Lewis. It seemed like 20 years,but it was actually 19 years ago that Reggie collapsed and died due to heart problems. Reggie is the only person (according to youtube) to block Michael Jordan’s shot 4 times in a game. He also was pretty awesome on offense.

 

Moment for self-conscious introspection. How do you write in an entertaining, smart but not too deep, sort of funny, and definitely ironic-sarcastic way about sports in the post-Bill Simmons grantland era? How do I even respond to this question without the Bill Simmons voice–‘you can’t!’?

And so, we continue entirely undeterred.

Watching UConn in the women’s NCAA each year makes me think John Wooden might not have been as legendary a coach today as he was back then. No knock on him, and no knock on the current UConn women’s success, but was the competition of the 1960s and 1970s mens college basketball similar to 2000s womens college basketball? Were he still coaching in 2012, would he find himself losing on occasion in the first round to a 15 seed?

And while we are on it, besides Michael Jordan, is there anyone who–if they just keep playing/coaching long enough–ultimately loses a game they absolutely should not have, and could be unpolitely accused of some form of choking or tightening up or just blowing a big game? Not Coach K. Not Kobe. Not Phil Jackson. Not Mariano Rivera. Not Tom Brady. Not Kobayashi. Likewise, ultimately, the ones who disappear in big games tend to eventually win, right?  Dirk. Joe Carter. Dean Smith and Roy Williams. Richard Nixon.

What does all of this mean? 2012 is the year of LeBron and Mitt. And global warming….2012, people.

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