The Parking Spot: The new G-rated NBA

Joseph Park, Editor In Chief

I always wondered what would happen if the Bad Boys Era played a game in today’s NBA. A foul call every millisecond? Needless to say, the NBA became softer than Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper. The playoffs are here, my interest absent.

The turning point and transition from the “tough” era to the current “soft” era took place at the infamous Malice at the Palace, the 2004 Pacers-Pistons Brawl. Advertisement companies and businesses complained that they were investing in these players that were displaying such atrocious manners on a worldwide scale. The NBA’s financial state was at worry and Commissioner David Stern took action, forever changing the NBA into a business show rather than a sport. Money really is the root of all evil.

It’s understandable to keep composure in a league after such an appalling incident, but to have the referees call fouls and the league issue suspensions and fines to every player who is simply realistically and humanly doing his jobs is taking away the meaning and life to the sport. I can’t sit and watch a NBA game without hearing a foul call whistle every 10 seconds, and not to mention half of them are flops. Let the players shove, let the players talk trash, and most importantly, let the players play with emotion. Is having a good image for business matters important enough to take away the vigor and life in basketball?

NBA players look trapped in cages out on the court, wanting to emotionally and realistically play basketball like human beings but not being able to for the sake of staying in the game. It’s distressing to see such tamed, robotic basketball. Has the NBA really become a showbiz? It sure wasn’t back then.

In the 1984 Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, Greg Kite decked James Worthy mid-air, knocking him hard on the ground. They were both permitted to continue playing with double-technicals. 2014 Game Six playoffs between Memphis Grizzlies and OKC Thunder, Grizzlies member Zach Randolph shoved Steven Adam. Randolph, a key member of the team, was suspended for Game 7, for a petty shove. A shove used to be the norm in an average basketball game back then; it’s now viewed upon as havoc wreaking action of complete terror that must result in suspension. The contrast between these two eras is utterly, and sadly, too bright.

“This is playoff atmosphere!” Whenever I hear a commentator announce this during a playoff game, I really don’t know what he’s talking about besides the fact that I saw an extra shove or two and some angry facial expressions. In short, playoff games nowadays are softer than regular season games back then.

These are professional, grown men. There needs to be physicality, grit, trash talk, and an overall sense of toughness that’s just not at all too familiar in this generation of the NBA. Limit the irrelevant and excessive foul calls and don’t issue suspensions for trivial emotional reactions such as anger and even happiness (excessive celebration penalty).These are necessary qualities that draw the line between a sport and a show.