Basketball is dead?
SO WHO SAYS BASKETBALL is dead?Well, I do. Often. Too many times to recall really.But if I was forced to estimate, it would be around 800 times a week during the season or just under 10 000 instances a year, which roughly works out to the number of missed shots in a Premier League season – not adding the playoffs.I say this in union with coaches and stalwarts. I tell this to players, fans, friends who care nothing for the local version of the sport, and any homeless man within earshot on my daily trek to work.That’s a lot from Crumpton Street to Fontabelle.Players don’t want to practice or train. Coaches don’t care if they do.People don’t turn up to watch the Premier League. The governing body doesn’t care if they do.At least their actions suggest such.Sometimes referees don’t turn up either. And the fans rather they didn’t.It’s so bad now dunks and 100-point games have become like garbage collectors – you’re thrilled to see them because you don’t know when next they’ll come.I once sat down last year and nearly slept through a game – a featured Premier League game – where Warriors and Patriots failed to tally 100 points between them.What they did combine for was 108 missed shots, 41 turnovers and 39 fouls in 40 minutes of dread that made Elm Street look like Sesame Street while setting back the shot clock era some three decades. But then something happened last week – the Cavs and Lakers’ fourth successive postseason meeting.Lots of historyIt’s become their annual get-together, where a decision is made as to who keeps the league title for the next 12 months.So I hyped the showdown like any other good sports journalist would because these teams have history. Lots of it.They matched up in two prior finals (2007, 2008). They played in three straight post-seasons.They split five of the previous six league titles. And they don’t like each other.At least Andre Lockhart and Corey Williams don’t.It’s also further proof basketball is dead, as you can pencil in a Lakers-Cavs final prior to a ball bouncing or before the other ten also-rans announce their rosters at the start of the season.In my pre-season predictions, I even had the Cavs to repeat as champs, even though that was prophecy marred after foolishly putting Lakers to finish sixth.But I also said Michael Johnson’s 200-metre record will never be broken, argued that Dan Majerle could shut down Michael Jordan and spent an entire season betting against the 1996 Chicago Bulls.What do I know?I do know something happened last week. This must have been what Red Plastic Bag was singing about.Lockhart and Williams got into it. A Premier League rookie dunked on his very first touch. OvertimeBoth teams passed 100 and Game 1 went into overtime. And then another. And then another. And very nearly another.It just couldn’t be? This had to be an aberration.But that same rookie dunked again and Game 2 wasn’t decided until the final horn.Then there was Game 4. The rookie didn’t dunk this time but two other players did.Neither team passed 100 but both very nearly did after the game went into overtime.In the end, the Cavs left the get-together with the league title while fans turned up to watch. Several fans actually.And the governing body seemed to care that they did.Never mind the also-rans, these two teams showed what happens when players want to practice and their coaches care that they do.There must have been 100 missed shots all series.So who dare says basketball is dead?I do. But then again, what do I know?