Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Basketball Quandary

I'm a big sports fan. It began out of pure passion for my favourite teams, and continued to grow as I learned just about every sport you can name as I began to work in the industry. Flipping between the Stanley Cup finals and the NBA finals tonight, I'm clearly favouring one sport over the other. I'm all over this hockey broadcast.

Everyone loves lists, and every once and a while we go through our list of favourite sports. The order of my list has fluctuated over the years, but basketball has consistently been on the bottom.

I don't hate basketball. I know the game, follow the game and respect the game. But I just don't like it as much as other sports. What could it be, though? I know I can love basketball, and I've cheered for games with the same passion as I have any other sport. Let's look at the deep-rooted psychological issues at hand:

The biggest factor, I believe, is that my team hasn't ever been a true contender for the NBA championship, thus giving me real reason to believe that I "belong" in the community of basketball fans. The Toronto Raptors have won just a single playoff series in their history and that was back in 2001. Since then, it's been rebuilding and Eastern conference mediocrity. No doubt, if the Raptors were to contend, I would be a much bigger fan of the game in general.

That's the long term problem. In the short term, there's a whole other world of sports to distract me from falling in love with basketball.

For one, the World Cup is coming up, and that transcends all sports in my books. Another reason is the NHL, which has to unfortunately compete with the NBA at the same time for audiences during their respective championships. The Blackhawks and Flyers in the Stanley Cup finals is way more exciting to me because it's a new matchup. Lakers and Celtics is old news. I do say that with ignorance towards their storied histories, I realize, but for that reason it doesn't appeal to me as much as, say, a Cavs/Suns final would.

Could it be the game itself is just inferior to others? That's impossible to say for sure, and I know a lot of people would kill me for even thinking that. Perhaps I don't like it because it's too easy for one player to take over a game and pour in 50 points as opposed to, on the opposite end of the spectrum, a 25-pass play involving eight players leading to the one goal scored in a 90-minute soccer match. That's another reason, but really you can dig and find pros and cons like that for every sport out there.

In the end, I think my basketball quandary comes down to the Raptors. Just win, dammit!

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