Born-again NBA fan
MATTHEW ROBERSON | SPORTS EDITOR | THE USD VISTA | @mroberson22
Over the last 15 years the NBA has had to deal with several issues which brought unwanted negative attention to the league. There was the infamous Malice at the Palace, in which players literally left the court to go fight the paying customers who came to watch their game. This did nothing but perpetuate the idea that the NBA was filled with belligerent thugs who had no idea how to act professionally.
Throw in other issues like the referee betting scandal, the physical and hard to watch style of play which dominated the mid-2000s, the phenomenon of losing intentionally for better draft picks, and the NBA has found itself juggling a whole arena of problems.
Growing up during this tumultuous era of professional basketball certainly turned me off of the league for a little bit. Rather than watching teams like the Spurs and Pistons slog it out by playing a slow and boring brand of basketball, I turned my attention to the more lively and upbeat atmospheres of college basketball. When players began taking 20 free throws a game because of the questionable officiating, I spent the winter and early spring months watching football and baseball.
But now, it is 2015, and times have changed. In the 10 years since the NBA changed some defensive rules to open up the game and create more scoring, the game has also soared in terms of entertainment value.
The main thing that came from this new era of basketball was a regained personal interest in the league. It’s no secret that watching a high scoring game chock-full of fast breaks and three pointers is more enjoyable than a slower style built around back to the basket big men. The last few years have turned me into a born-again NBA fan. The league today features a much more exciting brand of basketball and employs several once-in-a-generation type players.
In 2015-16, I will be closely watching the NBA because of dudes like Steph Curry, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Chris Paul. I will be intrigued by the Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant duo in Oklahoma City, no matter how much I wish they were still in Seattle. Above all else, I will be enjoying the NBA again, and that is a huge step for that kid who was turned off by the sport’s drudgery just a handful of years ago.