The NBA's big problem

By Robby Sabo,

This week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver frequently reached for the Advil on that night-stand. The reason? Many.

Most think it is because of the Donald Sterling situation currently taking place. Sterling has yet again announced to the world he will fight the league tooth and nail instead of relinquishing the team gracefully.

That's a major headache, no doubt about it.

However Silver, being the smartest man in the room, knows this headache extends far beyond Sterling. You never have to do a double-take when looking at the participants in the NBA Finals each season. This is where the NBA’s major problem lays.

The National Football League has indisputably become the world strongest sports empire and machine. How did they do it?

Well, put very simply, they kept the consumer craving more and embraced parity. Before every NFL season starts, every fan of every team can think their team has a legitimate shot at having a great season. This is thanks to a hard salary cap set in 1993 and a revenue sharing plan thanks to the likes of Pete Rozelle and Wellington Mara.

It’s a simple concept that brings outstanding results. To have a league offer much more opportunity to many more teams each season, increases interest and overall growth.

How does one measure parity though? It is very difficult to measure (as there are many formulas out there), but being a sports fan you must use your brain for a moment. As you enter an NBA season, how many teams have a legitimate shot at winning the NBA title? I would contest that two or maybe three teams tops. This is where the NFL, NHL and MLB crush the competition.

The NHL Playoffs are truly a crap-shoot as any team with a hot goalie can win the cup. The NFL, while still a crap-shoot, has a little bit more emphasis on the star quarterback. Baseball, which has no salary cap at all, has also seen its fair share of parity (no back to back champions since the 2000 Yankees), according to Sports Illustrated.

The 2014 NBA Finals features the Miami Heat (fourth straight time in Finals) and the San Antonio Spurs (second straight time, and sixth time over 16 years), according to NBA.com. I'm not sure about you, but I’m getting sick and tired of seeing the same names in the biggest basketball games every year.

The NBA operates with a salary cap. The problem is though it’s a “soft” cap and allows too much flexibility. This is a “star driven league” where only the best of the best dominate. Once LeBron James teamed up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, the gauntlet was laid down.

We all knew what was going to happen, and it happened. They are dominating year after year and rewarding some of the worst fans in our country (fair-weathered Miami fans), with much undeserved success.

Silver needs to implement a “hard” salary cap and come up with clever ways of preventing the best teaming up to dominate the rest of the league.

Yes, it is true. During the 1980’s, the Lakers and the Celtics dominated the sport and Magic and Bird revived the NBA from a deep depression. It was a clever marketing scheme that worked and saved the sport. But it is now 2014 and the other leagues are passing them by fast in popularity.

Next » Continued


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