The NBA is the most enjoyable league to watch in all of sports. But for the overall sex appeal, the officiating is an ugly wart. Unlike Cindy Crawford’s iconic mole where the imperfection added to the appeal, this is more like Mike Tyson’s “dear God what have you done to yourself” face tattoo – and it’s hurting the Phoenix Suns.
The league has no excuse for the horrendous quality we’ve seen of late and that fact that they have no solution on the horizon.
Bad officiating has plagued the league since the mid-90’s, but over the past year it has reached a new level of ugly. Ugly enough that star players have started to throw down in private meetings during the all-star break. Ugly enough that even the Warriors, a team so much better than the rest of the NBA that they half took the year off, felt the need to mount an effort to call out this disaster.
For all the complaining from the players, they too are half the problem.
No one wants to see the Zebras take over a game, but no one wants to watch Blake Griffin cry it out on the court every time down the floor either. Between the terrible calls and the constant complaining, you end up in a spot where the officiating matters as much as the players…which isn’t a brand of basketball anyone in their right mind wants to watch.
I wish Chris Paul, as leader of the Players Union, would step up and help fix this issue. The problem is that Paul is one of the most egregious examples of a player who spends more time nagging officials than playing the game.
The NBA’s reluctance to address the issue leads many to become downright conspiratorial and rightfully so.
Did Jordan or does LeBron get preferential treatment from the refs? Of course! – Which is absolute trash! These star players are already at a significant advantage over every other guy in the league. Why compound the lack of competition by handing them the benefit of every call?
Ratings seems like a simple answer. Imagine the difference in ratings in a playoff series with and without LeBron….you can start to see why the league might not go full on Tim Donaghy on every game, but there’s no doubt they’re encouraging an environment that doesn’t exactly espouse fairness.
Here are a few simple suggestions the NBA can adopt to help fix this fiasco: