The big heads of the big time take a back seat

The NBA has a serious problem and it’s not doing anything to stop it. The prob­lem? Nobody likes the NBA. Why? Every­one prefers college basketball because it’s not loaded with overpaid, prima donna, no-defense-playing thugs, who have no re­spect for anyone. Last Friday something happened that was simply the tip of the iceberg of the NBA’s problems with fan support and play­er-fan relations. The Detroit Pistons have been miserably dogging their way through the lower half of the dismal Eastern Confer­ence all season. As with most professional athletes, it was far beyond the thought pro­cess of the Pistons players to think their lack of success may in fact be their fault, af­ter all they are the ones on the court, right?

So what do you do if you’re bad and too immature to take responsibility for your own actions? You blame your coach! Second-year coach, John Kuester, has been having issues with his players for over a month now. Early in January, vet­eran guard Rich Hamilton, who thinks he is a hockey goalie from the ’70s with that ridiculous face mask he wears, chewed out Kuester at a practice in front of all the other players and coaches. His tirade was so malicious, other players felt the need to step in but were too afraid. Shortly thereaf­ter, Hamilton (or should I say Patrick Roy?) was benched indefinitely. I can count the amount of minutes he’s played since on one hand.

Hamilton has proved to be a poison to the whole team because what the Pistons players did on Friday is entirely inexcus­able and simply turns more people off to the freak show that is the NBA. As usual, the Pistons had a pregame shoot-around on Friday before their game against the Philadelphia 76ers, who are also terrible at basketball.

There is nothing strange or unreasonable in basketball for the coach to conduct a pre-game shoot-around, the only problem is that nobody showed up! Only six play­ers, and basically all bench players, turned out. Rightly so, Coach Kuester benched all of the absent players for the game against Philadelphia that night and the Pistons lost, only playing six guys, mind you.

The real issue here goes much be­yond Hamilton or the other disrespectful chumps that play for the Pistons, it poorly represents the NBA as a whole. Why does the NBA season go so long? So it can get more viewers after everyone is done watch­ing their favorite brand of basketball, the NCAA.

Commissioner Howard Stern and the NBA’s owners have a serious problem on their hands being that the vast majority of sports fans’ preferences lean toward NCAA basketball. The NBA may have the best players, but not the best people. It needs to clean up its act by implementing no-nonsense policies to straighten these play­ers like Hamilton that just can’t seem to get it through their heads what it means to be true basketball players, for the love of the game. If the league can take such actions, more and more people will begin to follow the NBA.

By Colin Zalewski