It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s A Professional Sports Game
by Larry Turner

The Heat’s season so far is certainly less than what we had hoped or expected. The first culprit causing this situation is the injury bug. It seems to bite the Heat as much if not more than most organizations, and the result has been almost weekly, if not daily, lineup changes to replace those unable to suit up for games. This includes most of the regulars and several substitutes. The bottom line is that at the present time there is a lack of cohesion in the way the team is playing, and the evidence is prominent on the scoreboard at the end of regulation time.

The culture of this team requires each player to know the talents and styles of all his teammates so that so-called “no-look” passes can be pinpointed to another player breaking for the basket or an open area beyond the 3-point line. Without that knowledge and teamwork, the play on the floor sometimes appears chaotic.

This plight has infected many if not most of the teams in the NBA. Fans don’t appear to appreciate the “game” that remains after many of the good players retreat to the locker room for attention to their injuries. For this and undoubtedly other reasons, attendance has lagged. For example, last Christmas the five NBA games garnered ratings 27% lower than the previous year. This result stems predominantly from the missing stars but, in my opinion, it is also a response to what I call the new “Hop & Pop” style of play which requires far less basketball talent than existed several years ago and relies almost entirely upon the ability of players to shoot threes from anywhere in the building.

If you’ll let me digress for a moment, my mind is wringing itself dry ruminating about the alarming transformation of sports in America today, stemming predominantly from the impact of the officials, or “refs,” assigned to control the games. Let’s frame a perhaps somewhat contrived comparison.

The Department of Justice of the United States (DOJ) is charged with the responsibility of maintaining a safe environment for Americans. Similarly, the refs in professional sports are assigned to maintain control of the games and players on both sides. However, the possible reality of both assumptions is questionable. It appears that the DOJ currently acts as instructed by those who reside in the White House. Similarly, the refs perform their roles as though following the instructions of others, possibly league management or the media, or both. In both cases the “winners” are often tainted by the “assists” they received from those not involved in the forefront of playing the game.

Questionable results given the facts we have postulated could be contributing to many if not most of the decisions of fans to spend their time doing something they can believe in. If you’re a fisherman, you have a fish to prove your success. If you’re a golfer, you have your scorecard. But if you’re an NFL or NBA fan, well…

Photography Courtesy Of The Miami Heat