Sunday, December 17, 2006

Knicks / Nuggets Brawl

By now you may have seen the brawl between the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets last night at Madison Square Garden. You will hear many people discuss and describe the brawl in the next few days and words like “disgraceful” will be tossed about. One word that I don’t think should be used to describe what happened is “unexpected.”

What good did George Karl believe would come from having his starters on the floor – up by 19 with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game? Nothing good could come from that situation and Karl has been around long enough to know it. I don’t like George Karl to begin with (I think his nickname should be George “First Round Loss” Karl) but he has to be made to answer the question of what the hell was he trying to prove by having the starters still on the floor.

Surprise! Surprise! A team coached by Isaiah Thomas loses control. Who couldn’t have seen that happening? The only good to come from this whole brawl is the fact that maybe it turns out to be the final nail in Isaiah’s coffin.

The NBA in general is also to blame. Just look at how the NBA markets its product. It went from "fan-tastic" where the fan was the focal point and fast moving, slick passing action was the product to today where individual players are held up as the reason to attend a game. The NBA doesn't try to sell the idea of come to see the Nuggets - they try to sell the idea that the fan should shell out his hard earned money to see Carmello Anthony – the sucker puncher..

The team is secondary to the marketing of the player in the NBA and this leads to a whole series of problems of its own.

Many players make just as much off shoe sales than their NBA salary, so "street-cred" is all important in making sure the homies want to buy the shoes. The NBA has bred a "disrespect me and I'll pop a cap in your ass" mentality in the players and now the NBA brass will act surprised that something like this happened? That's BS and the fact that I typed the very same words two-years ago after the Malice at the Palace shows that the problem is not getting better.

I admit to feeling like a bit of a hypocrite because I do enjoy a good hockey fight. However, the fight in hockey usually has a purpose – to change momentum – to get the team fired up – or retaliation (a way to protect the stars from having players make runs at them). In basketball a fight is almost never about helping your team.

So last nights fight may have been many things but I don’t think “unexpected” is among them. Just like lower NBA TV ratings – people could have seen this coming a mile away.

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