I love all sports. Some more than others. I like the idea of going to a game and watching competition at the highest level. I love competitive athletes who will do everything possible, physically and mentally (not cheating), to be the best of the best. I will settle for the best an athlete can offer. If you are only good enough to be the 12th man on the bench, then so be it. As long as you are trying to move up to the 11th man and higher I can appreciate that. I love Noah. I love Hansbrough. I love guys who do not give excuses but lay it on the line every game and every practice. I can watch "Rudy" a 100 times in a row. I love players in the NFL who go from the practice squad, then an NFL squad, then become a starter. That's not luck. That's hard work.
Michael Jordan, Christian Laettner in college, 12 year old little leaguers being clutch at the World Series. If what I see is the best then bring it on. I'm in.
We can debate how bad the NFL CBA may be for the players. But for the fans and especially competition there is no other CBA that guarantees that the best players will be on the field. Right now the debate in Washington Redskins land is "Is Fred Davis a better Tight End than Chris Cooley." Today he is. Tomorrow he will also be better. Fred Davis is going to be a star, possibly this year. Sunday showed his talent. Chris Cooley was a star. He is going to have a tough time unseating the former Mackey Award Winner, the best Tight End in all of college football. There is a chance Chris Cooley will hardly see the field again this year. He may not make the team next year. Chris Cooley has to come back from that injury and "BALL." If he doesn't he may not have a job in the NFL. It's not personal. It's business. Don't feel sorry for Chris Cooley. He signed a contract that has set him up for life.
You can cry, "but look what he has done for the Redskins in the past." The NFL does not care because it's in the past. They want the best players on the field at all times. They will also pay the best players. There is a progression. Young and Marginal Players Fight to make a team. They earn about $350,000 that first year. They fight again. Then they fight to be an average player. Then they fight to be an above average player. They fight to be the best in the business. They cannot let down one bit because the NFL demands the best players on the field at all times. If you slack off then you are gone. It's that simple. NFL Fans do not want "sympathetic old players" because they lose games for you. How sympathetic was Andy Reid and the Eagles when they shoved Donovan McNabb out the door.
Recently, yesterday, Rashard Lewis put himself as the poster boy for what's wrong in the NBA. I will even go one better. Stephon Marbury. The absolute epitimizing example of what's wrong in the NBA. We can have a $20million a year player, agreeing with management to sit on the bench and get paid. He was fine with it and quote " I'm getting paid." Obviously, the New York Knicks were also OK with it. THAT IS PATHETIC! Close the Garden.
Yes, there are some players who out play their contract. They should out play their contract. They want a bigger one. They will get paid soon enough. For every Jose Barea there is a Starbury and others. You can reward Barea with a bigger contract, but you cannot take back Starbury's cash, or the damage it did to the product on the floor. $20million the Knicks could have used for several above average players. Maybe use the money to upgrade the weight room. Instead, Starbary just took it from the fans hard earned money they used to buy tickets and merchandise.
Long term guaranteed contracts guarantee one thing, and one thing only. You can go through the motions for the life of your contract and not worry a thing because you will get paid whether your busting your butt to make you and your team better or you can flat out steal from the fans because you decided to not give 100% and coast. Of course, the lazy player will decide to, all of a sudden, on the last year of his contract to bust his butt again, and an NBA team will be suckered again.
WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO SEE
I think it is possible to keep the same type of CBA presently in the NBA but not go the extreme route of the NFL, although, competitive wise, no CBA beats the NFL model.
1. Guaranteeing some contracts to 3 years instead of the 5 or 6 would be a nice compromise. An NBA player may turn to trash but it would only hurt your franchise for 3 years. Of course year 3 would be another contract year so you will most likely only be hurt for 2 out of the 3 years.
2. Pay the Superstars what they are worth. The difference between Turkey, China and the NBA is pretty simple. The NBA has the superstars and the rest of the world does not. If Lebron and Kobe are worth $40million then pay them $40million. (I bought season tickets last year to watch John Wall).
3. Do not pay below average players even a million dollars a year. I want to see great players play. I want to see hungry players fight to play and to get paid. That is the part of the NFL that I do like. You got to bring it and bring it every day. I hate giving really marginal players 2 year $3million contracts. These players may not even be the 8th man on the roster, yet they will be financially well off. Keep these players hungry so the quality of the game will be better for the fans. I know this will not be popular but I think this is where the NFL got it right.
Let's hope we get back to BALLING on November 1. Unless Stern and Hunter can do Nick's 360 reverse layup I don't want to see their faces anymore (dang, their getting old).