Monday, October 26, 2009

NBA weirdness. China = Lower Merion High?



Current system:

At the beginning of each game, the NBA uses the player's last U.S. based school as part of their introduction. For foreign players, they use the country they came from.

A problem of taxonomy: 

China, a country of over 6 billion people, is essential being presented as of the same object class as Lower Merion, a high school of roughly 1,500 students. That is a strangely incongruent and possibly denigrating way to frame our view of the world outside of the United States.

We can do better:

I understand that Americans love NCAA basketball, and this tradition is responding to that passion. But I would like to argue that as basketball continues its rise as a truly international sport, if the NBA is to remain the top draw internationally as the premiere basketball league, we should strive to expand past our provincial prejudices to fully embrace and respect  what the rest of the world is offering to our beloved sport.

Two possible solutions:
  • No references to school/countries
    Discard this process all together. Just introduce the players.
    Example:
    "at guard, in his 5th year, number 3... Chris Paul!" 
  • A more relevant and balanced history
    If we want to ensure a player's history/roots/past stays in the folds of the NBA story, where they grew up makes for a better narrative than where they played mercenary basketball for a college coach for a year or two. I think the fact that Dwyane Wade grew up in Chicago, is a lot more interesting than the fact that he played two years at Marquette.
    Example:
    "at forward, from New York City... number 37... Ron Artest!"
    "...from Barcelona... number 16... Pau Gasol!"  
Thoughts? Disagree? Hit me up on the comments.

9 comments:

  1. you could let the players decide what location is in their intro...

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  2. leave it the way it is, not every player dropped out of college (or didnt attend one). Tim Duncan came (and graduated) from Wake Forest, so he should be announced as such. Why penalize those who chose to go to college for an education and played basketball on the side.

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  3. There's something immortal about the way they announced Jordan, and I think a lot of players long for that. "From the University of North Carolina..."

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  4. kakorote78: While Wake Forest is a university and much bigger than a high school, the same logic still applies when you compare it to the country of Spain.

    Kellen: I think anyway you could have announced Jordan, would have been immortal.
    "From Wilminton, North Carolina... Michael Jordan!"

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  5. David: I like that suggestion as well. There could be some hilarious introductions. David Stern might not end up very happy though.

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  6. agreed. nicely articulated. m cmdr

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  7. As a Lower Merion alum, I have no problem with your suggestion.

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  8. no, you shouldnt let the players choose, becuase richard hamilton would have THE longest intro ever.

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