August 16, 2004

The Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost

I stopped watching the NBA years ago about the time they stopped playing, well, basketball. Once travelling and carrying the ball were no longer violations and the game in the paint resembled a sumo match more than a game of finesse, I lost interest. The boorish behavior of the NBA's stars is of little consequence from my perspective, though if I cared at all it would probably annoy me considerably.

And now the results of years of an entitlement approach to its sport and business have yielded the results that we can expect in any aspect of life where responsibility is detached from authority, standards are casually tossed away when inconvenient, and accountability is waived for short term gain:

Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson and the rest of the U.S. basketball team fell 92-73 to Puerto Rico on Sunday, only the third Olympic defeat ever -- and first since adding pros -- for the nation that ruled the sport for three-quarters of a century. It was by far the worst defeat for a U.S. men's team, coming in the Americans' first game of the Athens Olympics.

I detest the overly emotional coverage of the Olympics by NBC and wish they would spend the time showing us more actual competition rather than trying to manufacture tugs on my heart strings. On the other hand, it's clear that the US Men's Olympic Basketball team generates no feelings of warmth at all. I certainly could care less about these guys, other than the fact that they are wearing a USA on the front of their jerseys. But in a variant of what so many others have noted before, the amateur game is about the name on the front of the jersey, the pro game is about the name on the back of the jersey. It is telling to me that NBC spends so much time talking about how much money a gold medal will be worth to so many of the competitors across the board.

At least we shouldn't have to hear about the NBA having the world's greatest athletes again for a while, while David Stern starts to get a clue on why the NBA is losing market share.

Posted by Charles Austin at August 16, 2004 10:15 AM