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Re: My issue with the modern NBA

This morning, I read a blog post by Manuel about the NBA. I almost didn’t click on the post because I stopped watching the NBA shortly after Michael Jordan retired, and my attempts at watching the sport since then have not been enjoyable. But it was a great post that focused on the NBA, but I feel like his assessment can apply to a lot of other sports and fandoms.

I highly recommend you read Manuel’s post, because he will explain this way better than I, but his point is that the NBA is no longer about the games but instead about the entertainment the fuels the games. The tweets, sports shows, 24/7 coverage all push a product and its various storylines, and since growth isn’t easy for a sport league, the games themselves suffer due to weird rule changes, advertisements, and corporate branding.

I was able to relate to this more than I wanted to, and again, I have watched just one full NBA game since 2000. This method of sports entertainment and just entertainment around anything has seeped into so many fandoms. Pro wrestling comes to mind, which in many circles, brands itself as sports entertainment, but what happens on the screen is sometimes less interesting than the Twitter feuds, spoilers, and whose jumping ship from one company to another. There is a small industry that exists just sharing leaks and gossip from the various companies. And I, like so many other wrestling fans, have spent way more time reading that garbage than actually enjoying the show.

The internet has opened up the world of being an insider that used to be limited to specialty magazines, which reported on things several months after they occurred. Comic books, video games, politics… you name it, there is a fandom around it and a demand for more news, gossip, and analysis.

I’ve written in the past about noise online and how it can get to me. It’s one of the reasons I struggle with podcasts. I just don’t see the point in me listening to someone ramble on and on, especially about something they dislike. It just doesn’t make sense to me to invest in someone’s thirty-minute rant about Star Wars or some YouTuber’s hot take on some Hollywood gossip. Life is way too short to indulge someone else’s opinion for an extended period of time.

But it does make me wonder why we are so drawn to all that noise? Does the idea of having some forbidden knowledge make us feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves? Does listening to a four-hour podcast on last week’s games make us feel like we are a “true” fan? Are we just victims of marketing? Or are we just lonely and feel a need to obsess over things that do not matter so we don’t have to acknowledge that hole inside of us?

I honestly don’t know. What I can say, from my own personal experience, is when I turn the noise down and avoid the opinions, rumors, gossip, and news, I tend to enjoy things a lot more. I think back to when I was a kid and how fun and exciting the world of horror movies was when I didn’t know what I was getting into and hadn’t seen trailers. I remember the excitement of watching wrestling and being blown away when someone made a debut that I didn’t know was going to happen. And I made time to watch these things, because I didn’t spend extra hours researching them throughout the week.

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