It’s over NBA. Done with you. It’s not fun anymore.
My relationship with the National Basketball Association is over.
Growing up a Knicks fan in the 1990’s, I watched very good teams. Not good enough to win it all of course (thanks Houston and San Antonio), but very good nevertheless. That Knicks team would eventually turn sour thanks to Isaiah Thomas’ shenanigans around the turn of the century. Around that same time, I went to school in Orlando, Florida. Obviously the Orlando Magic played nearby and I knew their almost seemingly overnight rise to prominence in the 1990’s during the Shaq and Penny days. Just like the Knicks in 1994, their fate would end the same as Eastern Conference champions in 1995.
At first, I didn’t pay much attention to the “Heart and Hustle” team. After all, this was a team a few years removed from Shaq leaving town and eventually winning a championship for the Lakers, but I did once Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady joined the team.
After enduring Hill’s constant year-long injuries, T-Mac emerged as one of the most exciting players to watch in the game. I constantly watched Magic games when not studying just to see him. I bought an authentic jersey with his name on it - the most expensive piece of clothing I’ve ever bought at the time. After all of the shit that organization and fan base had to endure with Shaq leaving, maybe things began to turn around for them for once. Being a smaller market with one big-4 team, I found it really easy to embrace the Orlando Magic. So shoot me, I nearly gave up being a Knicks fan because of this.
It seemed like greater things would happen when the 8th seeded Magic lead 3-2 against the top seeded Pistons in 2003.
Then T-Mac said its good to be in the second round…before losing 4-3 to the Pistons.
It all went downhill after that.
2003-04 was pretty much a wash. The team started with a opening night victory vs the Knicks in overtime at the Garden, then proceeded to lose 19 games. Probably a parallel to my life at that time since I had to withdraw from school in Florida and return to Long Island for health reasons. Just when you thought the Magic would come back ready to begin anew, T-Mac demanded a trade. To be honest, I really didn’t get the full impact of being a Magic fan until hearing the news. Initially, I knew this would probably bring forth at least 5 or so years of mediocrity, but I decided to stick around a fan. I would try to see the Magic as much as I could in the when they visited the Knicks and Nets and when I vacationed in O-Town.
In 2004, the Magic got lucky again. #1 draft pick overall. They would choose Dwight Howard, a young High Schooler from Atlanta. This was before the NBA changed the minimum to 1 year college, so he’s the last of his “kind”. Not a lot Magic fans initially spoke highly of him. I believed. “Maybe by 2010, the Magic may get out the 1st round or once”. Cautiously Optimistic, I really thought he would follow the same departure path as T-Mac and Shaq after his initial contract. Then he resigned, maybe he loyal for once.
Yay! By 2005, Grant Hill was healthy! He made the All-Star team again. Steve Francis eventually turned out to be a dud and was on the way out. By 2007, the Magic got back to the playoffs for the 1st time since ‘03. Didn’t last very long to the Pistons again. By 2008, the team got out of the second round for the first time in 12 years by fell to the Pistons AGAIN. By 2009, the Magic began to make people notice with their performance, winning 59 games but certainly not favored. People REALLY began to notice once the Celtics and Lebron-led Cavs went home early. The Magic were again the the NBA Finals, 14 long years of waiting. Would Dwight Howard shock the world and put Orlando on the sports map?
Winning game 3 wasn’t enough (a game I personally attended, flew to Orlando with hours to spare before tip-off). 4-1 Lakers on and winning on their home court no less.
Despite that setback, everything looked bright. Howard was signed to a long term deal. A new arena was being built, trades were made, the owner was fully committed to burn cash for a chance of a title. 2010 should’ve been their year. 8-0 playoff start, then eliminated by fucking Boston. *Yawn* Lakers-Celtics AGAIN in the finals. This is what the people want apparently.
A mini blowup of the team by GM Otis Smith was a desperate move. It bought 50+ wins again but an embarrassing 1st round exit.
The lockout came. Personal passions from painting to ponies diverted me from losing my mind without the possibility of the NBA season. I kept hearing a lot of teams were losing money. I’m sure you would if you’re team would if it had no chance in hell of making the 8th seed just to be a sacrificial lamb to the Lakers or Heat. Maybe a loss of a season would put things to perspective.
The lockout ended. Dwight wants to be traded. Here we go again. Perhaps the short season would bring us an shot of winning. It brought us whining, self-centeredness and people thrown under the bus as a result. The Dwightmare had begun. It should’ve ended by the trading deadline back in March, but commitment issues dragged it on. Howard would get back problems and sit out the rest of the season. Where did he go to get his treatment? Los Angeles. How convenient.
The Dwightmare finally ended on August 10th, 2012. The world is supposed to end this year, it might as well end now.
Let’s do the math here. We all hear the argument that good teams are good for the sport, but how long will we have deal with these so-called “super teams”. Realistically, 4 or 5 teams right now have a shot of winning an NBA team this season. Could you say the same thing for the NFL, MLB and NHL? Parity is such a joke in this league, it’s not fun at all for every fan. When TWO teams are responsible for winning HALF of your championships, how can you look at that without suspicion? It’s really easy to delve into so-called conspiracy theories about David Stern, but the parity is so broken. The lockout was supposed to bring balance, but it’s business as usual.
Why spend all your hard-earned money on merchandise when the player obviously has no heart at all. Mercenaries for hire. That’s all I see with today’s athletes. Loyalty means nothing to them. They’ll eventually play for a big money team. I’m sick of supporting simple millionaires and the businesses that are dependent on them like ESPN. The National Basketball Association won’t get my attention anymore. The Magic are actually have a LOT more luck than some franchises, some haven’t experienced the success the Magic have and have existed longer. Maybe down the road, I can look back on this little internet rant, but for now the NBA is a broken league that needs to be fixed. Everyone deserves a shot.
It’s over NBA. Done with you. It’s not fun anymore.