I got interested in the NBA back in the 1960s when Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics battled Wilt Chamberlain and Philadelphia 76ers. TV was “free” back then and there were only four channels and usually only one NBA game.
The intro to that game was:
“Come on and take time out, and pull up a smile.
“Get in to something you can enjoy.
“Sit back and do something nice for yourself,
sharing the feeling with somebody else.
“Time out for a while.
“You’ve got to take time out – get into the action while you’re relaxing at home!
“Sit back and do something nice for yourself, sharing the feeling with somebody else.
“Time for the ‘NBA Game of the Week.’”
I remember the classic playoff battles between the Celtics and the Knicks. I liked the intense rivalries between the Lakers and the Celtics.
Back then, every team had a huge center and the offense revolved around action in the low post.
When I was in college at Oklahoma, I met All American Alvan Adams. Alvan was a scoring machine. One of my college roommates married one of his wife Sarah’s college roommates.
Back then, if a player wanted to leave college a year early, he had to declare a “hardship.” That was a joke because most players really had no “hardship” but they just wanted to begin a pro career. These days, a player only has to play one year of college ball to enter the draft (it’s call “one and done” it happens to Kansas and Kentucky almost every year).
Alvan Adams left OU a year early because he almost had enough hours to graduate and he was projected to be a first-round draft pick. The Phoenix Suns had the No. 4 pick in that draft in 1973 and former OU coach John McLeod was the coach. He had recruited Alvan to OU and drafted him that year.
Alvan played so well that first year that he was named NBA rookie of the year and he led the Suns to the NBA finals, where they lost to the (now hated) Celtics.
That was a great time to watch pro basketball. For 13 years, I followed Alvan’s stellar career. I saw the Suns play in Tulsa (exhibition), Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Charlotte, Orlando, Dallas and Phoenix.
I was still a fan when Alvan retired and was excited when the Suns got back to the finals in the 1990s (and lost to Chicago with Michael Jordan).
These days, I have lost interest in the NBA for a variety of reasons.
I became sort of a Los Angeles Clippers fan when they drafted OU’s Blake Griffin No. 1 a few years ago. After losing his entire first year to injury, Griffin was named NBA rookie of the year. His first few seasons were a lot of fun to watch because he was spectacular at dunking.
When the Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder, I thought I might become a fan of that team. When Kevin Durant left for Golden State last season, that kind of dulled the excitement for the Thunder and their chances to win a title.
Russell Westbrook may be the best player in the NBA but he will soon be a free agent and leave. This year, Westbrook joined Oscar Robertson as the only two players in NBA history to an average a triple double. Westbrook set a record with 42.
Chances are, the Oklahoma City Thunder are not going to get better and there is a strong possibility their decline is not over.
Buddy Hield, a rookie, got traded from New Orleans to Sacramento. That means we will never see him on TV and he will probably never make the playoffs.
Hield was the player of the year in college basketball just over a year ago. Hield will be a pretty good NBA player for a mediocre team in a very strong Pacific Division.
But my enthusiasm for the NBA has diminished these days.
First, the playoffs are way too long. The season stretches in to June and that is way too much.
I am no fan of LeBron James, who may be the best player in the league. His basketball skill is undeniable but I don’t share his political views. I just don’t care to watch him play anymore.
In fact, the NBA keeps leaning more and more to the left and that’s OK. But it makes me not want to watch these guys play.
The infamous Charles Barkley was right about one thing – NBA players are not “role models” these days.
These are some wonderful Christian players and coaches in the NBA. These days, they are overshadowed by political correctness and progressivism.
College basketball is a lot more fun to watch these days. OU should be good after a down year. OSU has a new coach and he should be able to build on last season’s resurgence. TU is just a player or two away from being really good in an outstanding conference.