There’s a certain amount of irreverence meant to take place when each of the major showcase events take place with regard to each of the All Star events covering Major League Baseball(MLB), the NHL, the NFL and the NBA. Which brings me to the real reason behind this article.
To my mind these events are about as meaningful now as the voting is on determining who’ll become a charge on that eponymous reality show American Idol. The voting for these events are mind numbingly boring and even though the fans do have a say. They’re merely voting for their favorite players rather than voting for the athletes on merit. Much like it is with the reality show itself. If that’s the case then we might as well have Simon Cowell , Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson adjudicate who should or shouldn’t be playing in the upcoming NBA All Star Game.
The event itself will be held in the Valley of The Sun . For those of you who are uncertain as to where that might be . Well we’re talking Phoenix, Arizona for the uninitiated out there . There’s already been a great deal controversy as to who has been voted in and to those who’ve been omitted. But at the end of the day does anyone really care for that matter ? It’s not as if the event itself is all that meaningful to begin with. Its only reason for assembling their stars is in order for their corporate sponsors to get a chance to see the players up close and personal. If it’s for the benefit of the fans then it’s sorely lost on a number of them. I’d dare say that the wife a Fortune 500 company executive wouldn’t know LeBron James from Rick James ? But she might well know that if she’s into the r&b scene or was once an NBA groupie ? Or quite possibly they might have children who are fans of the sport in general.
Amare Stoudemire and teammate Grant Hill of the Phoenix Suns try to defend the offensive play of the Golden State Warriors’ Kelenna Azubuike ……………
But as this showcase approaches what are we to expect ? It’s not as if the game itself has ever been known to competitive . It’s merely an exhibition to curry favor with the fans. Albeit that the ones benefiting from this all are primarily the NBA and its corporate benefactors. The fans certainly aren’t. But then again Commissioner David Stern would tell you otherwise. For the twenty five years that Stern has been the commissioner the business of the NBA has multiplied twelve fold. It’s now become a multi-billion enterprise and its tentacles reaches right across the globe. It’s greatest presence is now in the Far East. China and its 1.2 billion population is the market that Stern now seeks to conquer. And with the Olympics in Beijing having such a presence. The triumph of Team USA was the greatest sales’ pitch that the NBA could’ve wanted.
The All Star Game that it signifies as alluded to before is nothing more than exhibition for the game to show of its wares. The players themselves are lauded by the fans . And it raises awareness and allegedly more accessibility as on appearance it makes these superstars approachable and fan friendly. That may well be the case for many of these athletes who are being millions of dollars to show off their athletic abilities. But then who amongst wouldn’t want to be in their shoes ? It’s not as if we haven’t envisaged ourselves at one time or another being a part of the winning team , hitting the winning shot, scoring the winning goal. Pipe dream or not it’s something that we can allude to.
The venue for this year being as it’s in Phoenix. The Phoenix Suns and their fans ought to be in for a real treat. Their team hasn’t been doing well but nowhere near what their fans had really hoped for. Even with the acquisition of Shaquille O’Neal and Terry Porter as the incumbent coach. The team has had something of an up and down season so far and this can be borne out of the fact that the team’s record is barely sits above .500 at 27-21. They are some 12 ½ games behind the division leading Los Angeles Lakers. And there’s a belief if they can find their footing with some consistency they ought to be able to garner a playoff berth.
Nash of the Suns dishes a pass to a teammate during the game played against the Golden State Warriors played at Oracle Arena , California . ……………….
There are rumors now percolating that and perhaps fomenting out of anger more than anything else that the team’s power forward Amar’e Stoudemire may well be on the way out of Phoenix. Constantly being harangued as of late for his lack of consistency and leadership. It may well be that the player himself feel that it’d be in his best interest to move on. They’ve an aging roster and when at its best they were never able to get over that final obstacle. And there’s no reason to believe that they’ll be able to do so now. Certainly not with O’Neal , Grant Hill , Steve Nash , Jason Richardson , Leandro Barbosa and Matt Dudley. The roster overall isn’t something that one would at be overly impressed with. Menacing on paper but once on court they possess about as much menace as a docile mouse.
Grant Hill of the Suns makes his way to the basket whilst evading the defensive play of the Warriors’ players. ……………
All Star Game or not the NBA and all that it professes to be about, the entertainment business as it is. It’s a sport in the business of entertainment. In the entertainment world it ought to be about entertaining the fans, and it should also be that way in sports. But then as of late the fans have hardly been entertained . More so they’re not exactly derived of the pleasure of real entertainment. Prices are on the increase as too are the concessions prices. Which leaves us with the very fact that in this economic turndown what will see happen amongst the league and its franchises ? They’ve a brand out there that on the face of it is very appealing . But its patronage by the fans may well take a hit not only because of the ensuing climate . But also because the league itself has chosen not to necessarily take note of the problems now beginning to engulf the sport’s world as a whole. And its own sport in particular.
pictures appear courtesy of ap/photos/ Ross D Franklin …………………..