As the 2022-23 NBA season begins, it seems like not a week goes by without a scandal breaking out. Players, staff members, coaches and owners, the drift of attitudes is increasing and in front of them the League is not showing the strongest handle. NBA boss Adam Silver needs to recover.
This is a trend, which should not become a mainstream trend.
A sad one attitude
Robert Sarver, accused of racism and misogyny.
Kyrie Irving, accused of anti-Semitism.
Josh Primo, accused of exhibitionism.
Miles Bridges, accused of domestic violence.
Rajon Rondo, accused of threatening to kill his own wife.
Ime Udoka, accused of having an inappropriate relationship with his franchise.
All different files, but one term that keeps popping up lately: accused.
And with this term that increases comes a feeling, a sigh, that never ceases to tire us.
While the main concern of basketball fans and media covering the League is to circle the courts of the NBA, extreme sports on the field lead the field in October 2022. And this, for our biggest sadness
We are impatient, hysterical, energized as we approach this 2022-23 season. We wanted to fill our eyes and veins after a few months spent away from time-outs and analysis of heated matches. True, the events surrounding Kevin Durant and his request to move from the Nets puzzled many fans between the months of July and August, but the average kid among us wants only one thing: to go back to playing basketball. And may the greatest talents on the planet, gathered in the NBA, fill our starry eyes with the best performances possible.
We are coming out of a wonderful, eventful, unpredictable season. The return of Stephen Curry and the Warriors to the top of the world. Ja Morant’s explosion, the reversal of the Celtics campaign. The amazing play offered by the Suns, then the wonders of Luka Doncic with the Mavs, a great vintage of rookies and hype who no longer know what to do with it. We are eager to find ours Teddythis toy that we have been enjoying for a long time and that brings us our pleasure every day.
And unfortunately? The off-floor seems to dominate the on-floor, after two short weeks of competition.
As media, we can look in the mirror and ask ourselves the following question: are we must talk about it all? With all these scandals and all these affairs? Shouldn’t we only be concerned with performances, 48 minutes played and more if you like? This is a legitimate question, which has crossed many minds. But unfortunately, the answer is obvious.
No, we cannot avoid facing these scandals. It’s not possible, but we can’t must no.
Because as an uncle said to his nephew in a completely broken down car: with great power comes great responsibility. And even annoying (sometimes/often), this must talk about these activities that are out of place. In the NBA as elsewhere. No, we don’t want racism, misogyny, sexual harassment, abuse, exhibitionism and who knows what other crap a player will throw at us in 48 hours. Yes, you have to say the rules and ask these questions, even if they are disturbing. Yes, it’s boring for some, but it has to be done. Because non-interference is – in a way – cooperative. It’s welcoming, shrugging, sipping coffee and making the world go round like this.” because it’s like that“. Intervening and expressing disagreement is not easy: it’s the least you can do, it’s the lowest.
But where to go, and what to do when you see the attitude current?
This is where the boss should come in.
Adam Silver must take over the reins of his League and show more resilience, if he doesn’t want to see the NBA’s image erode as it goes along.
It is obviously easy, sitting alone at his desk and in front of his keyboard, to point the finger and say how to do it. Managing a business and a sports league the size of the NBA requires a level of professionalism, versatility and expertise that we don’t realize. We are happy to make suggestions. at 2Kas if this is enough to lower the rating bullet holes in the nba and increase the gauge tolerance. But it’s deeper than that, and who knows how many implications we don’t know Silver is asked of every morning.
One element we got some idea about, however, is the stability of a boss. It is the delimited framework that it imposes, and the lines must not be crossed.
At its very beginning in 2014, duties were taken over by David Stern (RIP), Adam Silver just put his face on the former NBA boss’ resume: I’m the dirlo, and we’re going to my tempo. The best example is the Donald Sterling affair, which prompted Silver to banish the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers for life. This is a great move from Adam Silver, and a necessary one. Because not only did it send a clear message about the NBA’s values, but it also immediately provided a note to follow, and a framework to respect. If you do shit, you will be asked to do it somewhere else.
I think the time is far away now.
Two months ago, the players and their association (NBPA) had to put pressure on Silver, because the latter literally tapped the fingers of Robert Sarver, former owner of the Phoenix Suns. A fine of 10 million dollars and 1 year suspension, for making racist and misogynistic remarks on several occasions? Shocked, the NBA and its members could not understand how such a decision was made. And the American media, at once, rose to denounce this instability. The same thing around the Kyrie Irving file, with the Nets completely overwhelmed by recent events. Same thing about domestic violence, or actions reported this week about Josh Primo, whose case seems to reach enough because of the trials started around the Spurs.
At some point, we have to ask ourselves: how can these actions be repeated?
For years, even decades, there have been many critics of this iron fist imposed by David Stern. Zero tolerance on many topics, and not discussion about themes that could have been properly discussed. Today, it is limited if we do not become nostalgic for this stability made in Sternwhich brought him many enemies… but also the respect of all. In a society that is changing and providing a level of information like never before, everyone is exposed. The past of so and so, everyone’s private life, the actions, the doubts, the possibilities, the rumours. Each has its own exit sight, with an almost disturbing thirst shared: knocking down everything that moves. So not tomorrow the scandals will stop, and the members of the NBA will no longer denounce. This is the game of these new rules, and in one place it is better.
But recently Adam Silver seems to have lost his grip. It is this stability that reminds us of what the real NBA is all about.
Yes, it is a business, one of the biggest businesses on the planet. Yes, in the post-COVID crisis, it is important to make sure – as a priority – that the machine is working. But no, we cannot allow actions and behaviors to become normal, not in our society, not in the existing state of nervousness. What is needed is a guide. Clear, crisp, accurate. Without the slightest ambiguity, and without asking either. Right now ? We don’t know how the NBA will react to this or that scandal. Because this line has become blurred, unclear, unclear, imprecise. Whereas it is necessary to plant his feet on the ground, to bend the body and to assume strongly and clearly what one is.
The NBA isn’t perfect, but it sent a strong message of support when Magic Johnson announced his HIV status in 1991. It kicked out drug-addled players who thought they could celebrate Christmas every morning in the 1980s. He brought basketball to TV, and the Dream Team to the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. He employed the first African-American coach in a major American professional sport. He supported Jason Collins when he came out publicly in 2014. There are dozens of examples like this. They allowed the NBA to have its current position, a necessary position in the modern world.
But it’s dirty attitude current, explained above, has destructive potential in the long run.
This could damage relations between League members, leading us to dramatic negotiations for a new collective agreement (CBA).
This could damage the relationship between fans and the NBA, leading to less attendance, less enthusiasm, and disastrous consequences for the league’s success.
It could break the relationship between the NBA and the world, after years of growth and development, leadership and pole position in its leading aspect of the league.
Therefore, it is time to intervene.
Let’s not waste the wonderful show that the NBA can give us every night.
Let’s not let business trample the human values that made the NBA what it is today.
Let’s not take for granted the fans and their unconditional support, they also allowed this media explosion.
One day, perhaps, Adam Silver will come back and change the image of the NBA so much that one will wonder when it went wrong.
If we hope that this moment will never come, we know that if we have to find a moment when it is necessary to intervene: that moment is now.