Sports: Basketball


Previous American Sports posts

I should have written about this a while ago, seeing as I went to see my first NBA game in March and my second in April and it is now August.  I actually only remembered that I had yet to ink the opinion on NBA into these hallowed pages when I started to write a omnibus round up of all the sports that I have seen since arriving on these shores.  So, Basketball.

Sport: Basketball - NBA
Team: Houston Rockets
Stadium: Toyota Center
Cost: $20
Opponents: Golden State Warriors

Sport: Basketball - NBA
Team: Los Ageles Lakers
Stadium: Staples Center
Cost: $93
Opponents: Utah Jazz

Basketball is boring.  No, wait, honestly, it is.  I disliked it to watch for several reason.  The first is that the scores are ludicrously high.  The LA game went down to the last second, which was exiting sure, and quite good fun, but the scoreline was in the 80s, finishing 86-85 against the Lakers.  The last 30 seconds of play probably took around 3 minutes, which was annoying too.  It felt artifical the scoreline being so high, which leads into the secon problem with the sport, in my eyes - the shot clock.  In American Football there's a play clock.  The reason that is there is to stop the quarterback from keeping the ball on the ground prior to the snap.  It stops an already long game being even longer... but that makes sense - much like time wasting in soccer it actively upsets the flow of the sport.

In Basketball, the "shot-clock" is exactly that.  From gaining possession in your half you have 24 seconds to place a shot on basket.  This means that you are constantly attacking the opponents basket.  There should be no need to have this requirement because, and correct me if I am wrong, the whole point of the game is score baskets.  So, to attack, you need to win.  That's all you need.  However, the games terribly imbalanced.  See, defending is nigh on impossible due to the non-contact aspect of the sport.  You can't "tackle", only try and palm the ball away, and any number of infringements can take place when trying to do this.  So much so that players are allowed to foul all the time without much recompense.  What this does in the end brings the game down to a single shot, score, repeat style of game.  It feels like five-a-sides, where instead of counting the score you count the deficit.  So, Utah won 1-0 rather than 86-85 (thanks Jonathan for that pearl of wisdom).

Thirdly, and crucially for me, is that the game lacks any discernible strategy or tactics.  If I compare it to the other sports I like; NHL, NFL or, at a stretch, soccer (which I hate), there appears to be plays.  In NFL that is all the game boils down to, it's more like a game of chess than a contact sport.  In NHL there are so many more opportunities for tactics to come into play; defense actually works, plays can be made on the run, there are off-sides and a key aspect of the NHL game is the "team down" power-play moments that are nothing but a battle of offensive power against defensive might.

Now, someone learned in the sport will come along and tell me I wrong.  I am sure of it; indeed, I welcome it.  The important thing is that I am not attacking the sport directly, not really, more the reasons that I dislike it.  In fact, I went to the game with two other newbies, one already a part fan, who afterwards explained the reasons that he likes the game aligned perfectly with the reasons I hate it (scoring all the time, fast paced, high scoring etc).

To each his own, but Basketball get's a D rating.  Sorry, buddy, you're at the bottom.