Apparently, it’s not too soon. Even while the question of what will happen to the LA Clippers now that former owner Donald Sterling has stepped away is still not entirely answered, pundits are beginning to move into tertiary threads. One recent question asked, entirely hypothetically, was if the Donald Sterling debacle was “good” for the NBA.
The article in question stipulated that the NBA had been faced with a watershed opportunity, not a pleasant one by any means, but a real moment in time. And the commissioner took full advantage, letting his players, his owners, and his fans understand that overt racism –will not be tolerated in the NBA. Other leagues had been given opportunities with similar “equality” moments, but chose to punt… or to fail miserably. This comparison gave the NBA a certain celebrity status, a leg up in the vastly competitive world of professional sports.
It’s no secret that the NBA has been struggling in recent years. Not like the NHL, but basketball is a perennial also-ran when compared to the NFL and MLB, and even NCAA football. The league has certainly lost steam since the glory days of Magic, Bird, and Michael. A steady stream of superstars failed to bring in the numbers, and several lackluster seasons pushed even longtime fans away.
Basketball needed a standout moment, and Sterling’s private ignorance gave them one. They were suddenly on a national stage in a way that they had not been in decades. What would they do with their time? What they did, is draw a line in the sand… while speaking the language of a new generation of potential fans for whom race is largely a non-issue.
If the NBA wanted to turn Millennials on to the game, they definitely handled the situation well. Now they just need to keep it interesting on the court.
Ronn Torossian is a regular contributor to Gambling911 – Friend him on Facebook here.
We have your latest odds on Exact Games in the 2014 NBA Finals.
4 Games Heat Win 25/1
4 Games Spurs Win 12/1
5 Games Heat Win 13/1
5 Games Spurs Win 6/1
6 Games Heat Win +310
6 Games Spurs Win 4/1
7 Games Heat Win 6/1
7 Games Spurs Win +250