> Stephen Jackson has eyes that are so crazy, The Runaway Bride gets the willies
> Don Nelson was born to steal this series (and, of course, get stomped in the next one)
> Mark Cuban's temper tantrum, if the Mavs lose, could be sold for $49.99 on PPV
> Between Cuban and Dirk, the Mavs somehow make a team with Stephen Jackson the good guys
Etc., etc. There are a dozen more just like this. But then there's this.
Fox’s Saturday, April 21 window of two regional telecasts—Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs—drew a combined 3.2 household rating and 4.7 million viewers. Those numbers topped both NBA playoff telecasts on ABC on April 21 and 22.
I don't normally care about ratings; it's not the game. But imagine an NFL or MLB series with this many sub-plots flying under the radar like this. (And don't tell me it's because it's a first-round series. Once you are in elimination mode, the round doesn't matter that much.)
But with the NBA, the combination of the late starting times, the niche appeal of the league, and the regionalization is going to make this one a treasured memory for relatively few people.
As a Sixers fan, I've never been more emotionally involved in a playoff run than the AI 2000 season, when the team scraped every knuckle through back-to-back 7-game exhaust-a-thons against the Raptors and Bucks. (And Vince? Thanks again for getting the diploma. And missing at the end of Game 7. You're aces in our book.)
Despite being on the West Coast, which meant some games happened during actual work hours, I could have had an open gunshot wound during those games and still watched. (Thankfully, my manager was a sports fan and indulged my need for flex time.)
Whereas these Mavs-Warriors games... no. (And vice versa, for any Mavs or Warriors fans reading this.)
They're completely great, you watch and get sucked in, but I'm not a fan of either team. I'm not living and dying with them.
If something important turns up, I'm missing Game 6. Maybe even Game 7. Now, compare that to the NFL.
Simply put, there's no way in hell you are missing the next Super Bowl.
Or maybe even the next 10 Super Bowls.
It could be the Bengals vs. the Cardinals in the first ever 6 seed vs. 6 seed game, where the winner will be the first team ever with a losing regular season record.
The day after the NFC and AFC conference games, both teams could have lost a half-dozen starters to rioting.
Your announcers could be Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Miller and Joe Thiesmann.
It wouldn't matter. We'd watch. Maybe on mute, but we’d watch. (Not sure? Did you watch the Giants-Ravens Super Bowl? Yes, you did. I'm still trying to wash the memory of that snore-fest out of my brain.)
And that's why, in a nutshell, there's really only one major league right now, then two also-rans.
Whether we want to admit it or not.