NBA's idea of an 'in-season' tournament analyzed

By Robby Sabo,

As sports fans, we all remember the 2010 Olympic Men’s Hockey Gold Medal game between Canada and the USA. The intensity and passion in that game cannot be matched. Now, we are all recovering from the success of the FIFA World Cup. The point is, high-tension tournaments in sport become a global phenomenon.

They key, however, is implementing and following through the correct way if an opportunity lies.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently said that the league is exploring the possibility of implementing an “in-season” tournament of sorts. The news came from the horse's mouth himself on Wednesday at a Board of Governors press conference Silver announced the news.

"One of the things that I didn't mention before that the competition committee talked about and seemed excited about is potentially some sort of mid season tournament," Silver said, CBS Sports reports. "Very early days in the discussion of that, but we're looking at other opportunities in the league to create excitement."

He continued, "As one of our general managers said at the meeting, there's very few things that you can win in the NBA. I mean, when you think about European soccer, for example, they have the FA Cup and they have other tournaments throughout the season, so I could imagine if we were to look at some sort of mid season tournament I would imagine doing something in Vegas. This would be a terrific neutral site location."

It’s an idea that’s been discussed around the campfire many times before. While watching soccer and hockey capitalize on international tournaments, basketball cannot help but think they’re missing out. Right?

Well, frankly no. Hockey and soccer are sports that lend themselves to the world-wide aspect of tournament. They are not American sports. Football, Basketball and Baseball are American sports and cannot stage a tournament that will hold enough water to compete with the World Cup or Olympics.

Implementation is another factor. The World Baseball Classic, which was implemented by Major League Baseball, was supposed to be their version of the World Cup. While the world has seemingly caught up to USA in talent, we have seen the WBC become an epic failure since the first in 2006. This event runs every three or four years, and American fans could care less.

The problem is, there is no good time to have it. The only sport that shuts down for an event like this is the National Hockey League once every four years for the Olympics. Baseball owners refuse to shut the sport down for two-weeks. The mere thought of losing two-weeks of revenue has their thinning-hair on fire.

So, in a lazy and matter of fact manner, they implemented it during spring training. Yes, I said spring training. This means restrictions are placed on players and major super-stars do not even partake in the festivities. How can a tournament be important when that is happening?

For the NBA’s growing international popularity, it seems like the idea could work if implemented right, but "seemingly" is the key word in that sentence. Even the more optimistic person would realize that the USA would still dominate and nobody would tune in to see that happen.

What the NBA needs to explore is some type of in-season tournament that does not deal on a nationality basis. An individual playing for their country creates major intensity, but because of this “American-dominance” factor, that cannot happen. If the league decides to keep it on an “NBA-team” basis, then that will surely not work. What do they have to win? A trophy? It is not worth the owner’s money to attempt unless guaranteed-intensity and parity is obvious, like the World Cup or Hockey Olympics.

A concept of some sorts needs to be brought to the table that would promote parity and incredible desire to win. If anybody has ideas, please let us know as it’s almost an impossibility to achieve, especially when the owners will be losing money as the sport is shut down.

The only concept that I can think of is doing it on a "Regional" basis. Teams would be based on birthplaces, or hometowns in this great country. The international players can then have a team of their own. This, and only this would be the way to go about it. Major incentive would have to be laid out (money) as I can possibly see players excited to represent their city.

Here is possible example of what LeBron James could Tweet in a few years if implemented correctly, "I'm getting ready to represent the "216" (Cleveland) in the 2016 NBA City-Tournament."



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