I didn't even have to wait until the end of the Suns/Spurs game to start this post, which obviously isn't a good sign for the NBA. We all know what happened. The Suns got royally screwed by the NBA, ran their players into the ground in a valiant attempt to win Game 5, and then they clearly didn't have enough in the tank to win Game 6 on the road in a hostile environment - despite the return of Diaw and Stoudemire. It's a travesty of monumental proportions and something fans should remind Stern of for the rest of his life.
But what's also bad here is that with Stern killing this series, there's really nothing left in these playoffs for the average fan to give a rat's ass about.
Stern has been trying for years to draw people into the game, and has at times been succesful and at times dreadful. Chalk this season up now as officially dreadful.
After the Golden State Warriors, who played fan friendly basketball, got knocked out by the Jazz, the only other team to draw people into the NBA game was the Suns. When Stern made the decision on the suspensions, he essentially told the potential fans he so desperately wants that he didn't care about them or their opinions. A very bad business decision. And it's not like the NBA already had a lot of fans watching the playoffs anway. Both hours of WWE Raw were watched by more people than any of the NBA games this week.
Now Stern's going to have to live with the consequences of having what should be some of the lowest ratings ever for both the conference finals and the NBA Finals. Why? Well, let's take a quick look.
Pistons v. Cavs - The only reason to watch this series is to see if LeBron James can make it to the NBA Finals. He's also the only star in this series. The Pistons play boring basketball, and no one outside of Detroit gives a shit if Chris Webber pulls a Jerome Bettis by ending his career with an NBA Championship. Plus, if anyone watched the Cavs/Nets series (all 5 of you), they know it's a lost cause for the Cavs unless the Pistons mail in about three games. Man, what a hell of series this should be.
Jazz v. Spurs - Again, we only have one star in this series. Tim Duncan, who has the personality of a horse and is twice as ugly. You can make the argument that Carlos "Acne Monster" Boozer and Deron Williams are coming into their own, but no fan with a passing interest in the game has any clue who these guys are because they play in Utah. You also have Jerry Sloan and Greg Popovich squaring off against each other, which means this series could be even more brutal than the Pistons/Cavs, if that's even possible.
So that's what any fan with a passing interest in the NBA has. Only two superstars to watch and grind-it-out basketball games. About the only thing that could get a casual fan to turn on the TV now would be to see someone sucker punch Horry and Bowen simultaneously. Or maybe that's just me, I'd certainly watch that.
Way to go Stern. After the first round of the playoffs you had everyone clamoring for more. Now, you've got people fleeing for the exits, which sadly includes even some die-hard fans - and it's entirely your fault.
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The Texas Screwjob