I’ve said this before- I’m not an NBA guy. A big reason for that is because I think the league as a whole sucks. I don’t think it’s real basketball, which is an awesome sport. It’s just athleticism. There’s no defense, one guy can carry your team to the playoffs, which defeats the purpose of a team sport, and unless you’re like a top 3 or 4 seed, you’re not winning a championship.
A really good example of why the NBA sucks is the Philadelphia 76ers. And despite my well-known disdain for the city, it’s not just because the team is based in Philly. Sean really already touched on this a few weeks ago, and he did a really good job of portraying how awful the team is at existing in the league. Stephen A Smith of ESPN, a reporter that I’m absolutely not a fan of, suggested yesterday that Philadelphians boycott the team. He’s pissed not because the team is bad, but because the team is bad and they don’t care. It’s a bad look if you’re trying to make the NBA more of a competitive league, and shake the stereotype that there are a handful of championship-worthy teams and then everyone else. They try to be bad. And quite frankly, there’s no rules to stop them. There’s no way to ensure that this team doesn’t tank on purpose… at least, on the surface.
Here’s my idea- threaten to relocate the team. Give them an ultimatum: be competitive by 20whatever, or lose your team.
The first reason people will dismiss that idea is simple- because the team has a history. But here’s the thing people- do you ACTUALLY think the team cares about history? I mean, they haven’t made strides to get back to their winning ways, right? Have they? Because last I checked (read Sean’s post if you haven’t already), they’ve actually gotten worse. In fact, they’ve gotten intentionally worse. Keep in mind that they have no actual patterns of trying to improve. What, you’re telling me that you can build a winning team in today’s Association by drafting like 3 big men in 3 years? Give me a break. If you think this team is trying to get better, you’re absolutely delusional. And if you think that management cares about this team’s history (which, if you ask me, is a bit overrated anyway), you’re even more than delusional.
The second reason people would be against that is because Philadelphia is a major market. I get it. Pro sports are a business, and you need the big markets to succeed. That’s why the Sixers are always on national television…. Oh, wait! That’s right! They aren’t. When’s the last time you saw a 76ers game on ABC, TNT, ESPN, or any of those non-local networks? I guess I also forgot that they have multiple players on their roster that are extremely marketable for the NBA… OH, WAIT! THAT’S RIGHT! THEY DON’T! Their most well-known player is an immature rookie who, if he stays on the path he’s on now, will be out of the league by the time he’s 30. You mark my works on that.
Philadelphia might be the fourth largest television market in the country, which is typically how location of sports teams are figured out, but it’s not like there’s not other options, right? Seattle doesn’t have a team. And they want a team. Remember how heartbroken they were when the SuperSonics left? Why not move the 76ers, who clearly don’t care about their fans in Philadelphia, to Seattle? St. Louis is a big market. Pittsburgh is a big market. Columbus, Cincinnati, they’re big markets. Sure, none are as big as Philadelphia. But if the league isn’t making money on the Sixers since they’re never on any nationwide station, they’re not making money off the players that play for Philadelphia, and they’re not making anything on attendance of games, what is there to lose?
It’s simple, and it’s a win-win for the NBA. 76ers management decides to pull their heads out of their asses and run a professional team the way they are supposed to, or the team moves to a city that desperately wants a basketball team. That pressures management out, and they can start fresh. Either way, the league becomes more competitive. Yeah, Philly fans might be upset. But do you really think they’ll be that angry, considering the joke of a product that’s been put on the court? I get the whole “a city identifies with its team” argument, but newsflash Philadelphia, the 76ers do not care about you. They’re not making the league significant money and they’re making the league’s product worse, so there’s no reason to keep them around. An ultimatum is the only way to change that.
 Mark this date down in history. This is the first and almost definitely the last time I will ever, ever, ever agree with Stephen A. Like, ever.