Thursday , Jul , 15 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

The Big Shakeup

This has been an exciting off-season in the NBA.  I bet that the agents negotiating with the owners is more exciting to watch than Yao Ming versus Shaq.  Player negotiation should be a Pay-Per-View event.  We have ended up with McGrady going to Houston and Shaq moving to Miami.  K-Mart is moving to Denver and Nash is leaving for Phoenix.  This is what I call a fair shake.  Last year, when Malone and Payton signed with LA, I really thought that the NBA was in trouble.  I was really hoping that LA would not turn into the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball.

The Big Shakeup
   When I heard about Malone and Payton’s signings, I started watching baseball.  I thought that it was pretty much over.  When I think about it, I am not sure whom to blame.  The owners have the intention of winning a championship, so they do all they can to make their team better.  For their part, they have not done anything wrong.  I also cannot blame the players. 

The next time you get mad at a player for going for the money, ask yourself: would you turn down 5 million dollars a season more to play for another team?  I hope you know that players say, “I love playing for this city” just so they can get discounts in restaurants.  They may love your city, but they love their money more.  What you have left are the fans.  For the fans, having the league stack their all-stars unevenly is not fun to watch.  I remember watching the inaugural season of the Raptors.  Watching your team lose the majority of their games is not fun at all.

I did derive pleasure from those rare occasions when we did win.  I was happy not because we won, but from the fact that the opposing team lost to us (This usually happened against the Grizzlies).  When a fan gets a bad team for the season, it turns the fan into something I would call the “bitter fan.”  The opposite of the “bitter fan” would be the “good fan.”  While the good fan can look optimistically towards the beginning of the season, the bitter fan has already written it off.  The good fan says “I love this game” while the bitter fan says “March Madness, here I come.”  Get the idea?

 When fans start becoming bitter, they start to feel like Job from the Bible.  They start to get the feeling that Stern is testing their faith in the game.  Your options are limited.  You have little choice but to watch your team start the season boarding the Hindenburg. It’s not like you can just start cheering for another team. It’s not easy to just leave one team and start supporting another; you get this attachment to your favorite team.

It’s like one’s barber; you stick with them in times of good and bad.  How can you star supporting another team you like bad-mouthing so much?  How can “Miller Sucks” turn into “Miller Time?”  Have some principles!  I also cannot afford buying new jerseys.  These things eat up half my paycheck.  Damn these hype retro styles.  Finally, the last thing an NBA fan wants to be known is to be a bandwagon jumper (Will the real Cavs fans please stand up?) 
 Returning to my earlier point, I think that this off-season’s player movement has proven to be beneficial for the teams and the league in general.  As a fan, I am quite excited to see how new team chemistry works out. 

Several questions are waiting to be answered: Will McGrady actually pass the ball to Yao Ming?  Will Vince finally shut up and just play?  Will the Kings actually bother unpacking their golf clubs?  Finally, when will I stop cursing Raptor management?