Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Freakishly Tall NBA

Just a brief topic today.

My problem with professional Basketball. Don't you think there's an inherent problem with a sport that offers such an enormous built in advantage to being taller than your opponent? Other sports demand things like speed, strength, agility, dexterity, endurance... all things that can be earned through hard training and work. And yes, certain sports rewards things like sheer size and height - a boxer's reach or a jockey's tinyness for example.

But no sport goes to the length that basketball does in this regard. The basketball height advantage isn't something you can gloss over. It isn't just a slight edge. It's 100% crucial and completely determinative. In order to play professional basketball, you must, MUST be freakishly tall. You need to be a 7'1" circus freak. I, personally am 6'4". I am the tallest person I know. I see people taller than me maybe 5 or 6 times a year, and when I do I think "Fuck, look at that guy." So I'm tall. And I, a taller person than 99.99% of the human population, couldn't even show up for basketball tryouts because I'm too short. My point is that there is something seriously wrong with that.

Now yes yes, I know, you hard core basketball fans can now start naming a list of 6'1" speedy guys who are crucial to their teams. I don't care. They are the exception that proves the rule.

My problem with the freakishly tall NBA is this. 1) We're not getting the best game of basketball we could be getting, (more on that in a bit) and 2) It goes against the American ideal that sports is supposed to be a meritocracy. That with a lot of hard work and effort and dedication, you too could be a superstar. Not in basketball you can't.

We have weight classes for wrestling and boxing, don't we? And isn't it true that middle weight boxing is generally more interesting and strategic than heavyweight boxing? That it's better boxing? Heavyweights punch with such strength that if they can land just a few direct hits, it's lights out. Also, then burn fuel super quick so they're exhausted by the second round. Boring.

Basketball needs height divisions. I bet if you organized a "no bigger than 6-foot" league and a "no bigger than 6-5" leagure, you'd see some damn good basketball. Maybe not as many theatrical dunks, but damn good basketball.

Am I supposed to be impressed when Yao Ming swats away a shot or a rebound without even jumping, due simply to his mutant, freakish height? That's not great athleticism, that's a sideshow act.


"Scooter" Goldstein said...

You know who's a sideshow act?! YOU! Yes, you, Rowsdower, you're the sideshow act. I'm so sick and tired of 6'4" people complaining that they're not tall enough or looking down on me because I stand 8 inches off the ground and am 3 feet wide. I bet you just want to put your freakishly huge shoe on me, don't you? Do you laugh because I use thimbles for shoes? Does it bother you too much to have to lean over the counter to order from me when you want your Starbucks? Have you ever thought about how basketball players make me feel? No. And that's why you're the freak. Not me, baby, not me.

Rowsdower said...

You know you're not supopsed to drink the whole bottle of Robitussin there, friend. Just fill up the plastic cup.