Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Jay "Snore"

Get it? Jay "Snore"? Does anyone know who I'm talking about? Hello? Forget it. I hate everyone. Anyway, Jay Mohr has a new article up called "A giant snore," and he's not talking about the pun in the title of a an Internet blog post written long after his article was published. No, he's talking about the very serious issue of NBA All-Star Weekend, and how this Grandaddy of All Important Sporting Events just ain't what it used to be, back in the good ol' days, back when players didn't jump while they shot and everyone played in loafers and top hats.

Hey, here's his subhead:

NBA All-Star Game and 'events' have become a joke

Okay, the Shooting Stars thing was pretty much a joke. Also, the celebrity game. It's not like I loved every second of All-Star Weekend. Come on -- the events included Clyde Drexler shooting half-court shots and Bow Wow and Christopher Meloni playing a game of pickup. The point is -- for the most part, it's not even supposed to be NOT a joke. Let's get to the article.

Was the NBA All-Star Game on this year?

Yes. You either watched it or read about it extensively, enough so that you gathered a bunch of facts that you wrote about in this article. Plus, you cared about it so much you decided to write an indignant, old-bitter-sportswriter-style column about how it has to change to be more like it used to be in some hypothetical dream world universe that you made up.

I must have missed it. Maybe it was because there was just too much great television to watch instead of the NBA's mid-winter classic. Like reruns of 30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray on the Food Network or that show on Telemundo where the guy dresses up in a bumblebee costume.

Very current reference. How many years has The Simpsons been doing the Channel Ocho Bumblebee Guy? My uniformed guess is 13 years. Possibly more.

For years the NBA All-Star Game has been completely irrelevant.

I agree, except I would take out the words "for years." All All-Star Games are irrelevant, unless you count the sort of stupid rule in baseball where the league that wins an exhibition game gets to host the World Series. They're All-Star games. They're shows. They're exhibitions. Complaining about their relevance is like going to the circus and saying "I didn't learn anything and nothing was at stake even though I really enjoyed the lions!"

Long ago, fans began tuning out the league's best players playing bad basketball. For too long the stars have embraced an all-offense and no-defense approach, and this is one of the many reasons it has become unwatchable.

All offense and no defense, huh? Mohr must remember all those All-Star Games of yore, where Michael locked down Magic like his life depended on it and Cousy played airtight defense on George Mikan or that one time that Dr. James Naismith made the guys play with the lid still on the peach basket. Unwatchable? When has it been watchable? This year the final score was East 122, West 120. Did Mohr prefer the classic 1998 tilt, when Michael Jordan was MVP and the final was 135-114, East? Or perhaps he enjoyed Magic Johnson's performance in 1992, when the West won 153-113? Oh, he's probably an 80's guy. How about 1987, when the final was West 154, East 149? Phenomenal defense in that one. More of a 70's aficionado? Great. In 1970, the East beat the West 142-135, and Willis Reed won the MVP. 1961: 153-131. 1958: 130-118. That's pretty much the entire history of the game.

Jay Mohr: the NBA All-Star Game is not about defense.

At the end of the game this year, guys buckled down and tried to win. That happens every year. It's not a surprise. LeBron even fouled Tracy McGrady on the last shot while trying to play tight defense on him. They just didn't call it. Everyone knows the first 43 minutes or so are the time to throw alley-oop dunks off the backboard to yourself. Then you play some defense. Hey, in 24 minutes, Ben Wallace had 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. He was playing some D.

If you disagree with me, then explain why the All-Star Game was shown on TNT, sandwiched between Steven Seagal movies. It's because it stinks.

There are a variety of factors. Every major sport is declining in television ratings (except maybe football). There are a lot more options out there, and people are availing themselves of them. NASCAR is more popular than a lot of the sports that you, Jay Mohr, probably think are bigger and more important. The Daytona 500 got better ratings than some of the World Series games. Does that mean that auto racing is better than baseball? No. People like different things. And yes, I'm aware that you're sort of, kind of making a joke because you mentioned the name Steven Seagal. My point is: popularity does not equal quality, and I don't care what network a show is on.

The "events" that lead up to the game stink too. The slam dunk contest is a perennial snore.

The dunk contest was insanely popular when Michael and Dominique were trading 50's in the 80's. Then it sucked for awhile. Then Vince Carter was amazing in 2000. Then it sucked for awhile again. I thought it was pretty entertaining this year. Iguodala's off-the-backboard dunk would have broken people's brains in the 80's. Seriously, if he had done that in 1989, I believe the city of Houston would have been burned down by people running out of the arena thinking they had just seen an alien.

Why do we celebrate a dunk contest, anyway?

Because it's fun to watch guys dunk. If you don't agree, I think you are borderline crazy. Tell me it's not entertaining to see a 5'9" guy jump over a 5'7" previous dunk champ and hammer down. Why do we go to a museum to look at fucking paintings of a pond of lily pads or whatever the fuck? That last sentence didn't really prove my point.

Aren't these players paid to make dunks?

Ugh. No, they're paid to play basketball. Some guys in the league can dunk, and a smaller number of those can do it in a really entertaining way over and over again. Does this really have to be explained? Rhetorical questions with easy answers do not equal comedy.

Isn't the slam dunk contest akin to the NHL having an "open net" contest?

Yes, if NHL players could shoot at the net while jumping in the air and turning 360 degrees and throwing the stick between their legs twice. Or if Sidney Crosby jumped over Bobby Orr and then took a shot. I think people would pay to see that.

I would much rather watch a three-point shootout, and I am sure Spud Webb would also.

Spud Webb probably loves watching dunk contests. I mean, loves. Did you see how happy everybody was watching the dunk contest on Saturday? He won one, remember? Jesus.

After all the concerts and uncontested three-pointers and dunks, the actual "game" was played. What a thrill this must have been to the fans who slapped down hundreds of dollars of hard-earned money to watch Kevin Garnett shoot 1-for-9 and the West and East shoot (with no defense) a whopping 46 and 50 percent, respectively.

First of all, All-Star Games are filled with media and businessperson-types who go see like one game a year. Who cares if they didn't get their money's worth? Most of them didn't pay anyway. And again, who the hell wants to see defense in an All-Star Game? People always complain about this, but NO ONE LIKES SEEING 84-79 NBA GAMES.

The NBA needs to spend less time putting together rap concerts at halftime and more time putting together a great game.

This makes him sound like a racist.

Maybe the league needs to follow in the footsteps of Major League Baseball and give home court advantage to the winner. Maybe then the players would guard someone. Maybe then the dunk contest and three-point shootouts would return to what they were intended to be -- entertaining events that precede a basketball classic.

How would that change make the dunk contest or the three-point shootout better? I don't understand. Maybe the guy's team who wins the three-point shootout should get an extra win in the standings? No, wait, that would be terrible.

Now what we are forced to watch is something very different. Each year we have to sit through somewhat entertaining events that lead up to a basketball snore. If the league continues to endorse the shoot-first, -second and -third version of the All-Star Game, they will be lucky to have TNT as its network. Maybe next year the All-Star Game could be on Telemundo right after that guy in the bumblebee suit.

BOOM -- CALLBACK!!! (Mohr throws down his microphone and stalks off the stage)

Labels: , ,

posted by Junior  # 7:30 PM
If Mr. Mohr wants to see "team play" and defense, he is cordially invited to watch the Bucknell-Princeton first-round match-up in this year's NCAA tourney, which, I am guessing, will be a 38-35 affair. The very idea that there should be more defense in the NBA All-Star Game is so gargantuanly stupid. Almost as stupid as that Bumblebee guy on Telemundo -- what is the deal with that guy?
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