The last few days in sports have been an onslaught of NBA free agency. Remember when the NBA wasn’t popular? Remember when people laughed at the sport and it’s officiating, dismissing it as another indication of a new generation’s poor taste? Well those are the same people who are reading the rumors, checking their twitters, and creating their own theories about what their team should do this summer.
It’s never been clearer that the NBA is as strong as it’s been a long time, and its time we start acknowledging basketball as a legitimate portion of the sports spectrum. The development of superstars like Kevin Durant and LeBron James was essential to the NBA’s growth. Basketball needs LeBron the same way that hockey needs Sidney Crosby. They might not be the ideal vision of a superstar, and students of the game would be just as happy to have a level playing field, but to attract the casual spectator you need a main attraction.
If David Stern froze a bracket and chose the draw for the playoffs last year, he couldn’t have found a more attractive path. Not only did he get the Thunder-Heat matchup he was praying for, but he also got the ideal Conference Finals matchups as well. It was around two weeks ago that the Heat won the finals. And it was around a week ago that Anthony Davis, a surefire star of a big man, was selected with the first pick. Then it was mere days ago that Deron Williams decided to stay with the Nets on their journey to Brooklyn adding Joe Johnson as a passenger. This isn’t just important stuff, it’s interesting stuff. The NBA has never hidden their identity, it’s a league of entertainment. Shiny suits and patronizing grins lead you through halls of the fun house, where you find intrigue and mystery around every corner. Loud shouts and blurry grifters distract you from any worries of substantiality. All of it is fun, and America is showing that being dazzled with a show is enough to keep watching, and there’s nothing wrong with that.