Why the NBA Playoffs are More Exciting than They Used to be
Posted by admin on May 22, 2007
8Â in a row andÂ 10 out of 12.
6 in a row.
5 out ofÂ 10.
At first glance, theseÂ numbers seem like batting averages or shooting percentages. If they were, they would be pretty impressive. However, these numbersÂ are even more strikingÂ as the realization sets in that theyÂ represent the number of times a single NBA teamÂ has wonÂ the championship. The legendary Celtics of the ’50’s and ’60’s wonÂ 8 straight titles and 10 out 12 from 1957Â to 1969 under Red Auerbach.Â With Michael Jordan at theÂ helm, the Chicago Bulls won the championship 6 straight times and won everyÂ finals in which they appeared. During the 1980’s, Magic Johnson, KareemÂ Abdul-Jabbar and the rest of the Lakers won 5 championships and appeared in 3 more finals.
Simply put, during these eras in basketball history, you pretty much knew what was going to happenÂ in the playoffs. The Celtics were going toÂ stifleÂ their opponents with unpenetrable defense, the Lakers were going to employ their unstoppableÂ ”showtime” tactics, and the Bulls were going to let Jordan loose. Even though each of these teamsÂ exhibited sublimeÂ poise and talent, the playoffs were only exciting for the fans of the aformentioned teams. As close as the opposition got to winning, fans around the country knew who was going to eventually win the championship. The lack of anticipation and suspense created aÂ less exciting atmosphere for basketball fans.
However, as of late, the NBA playoffs have been more up in the air. Aside from a few years dominated by the Lakers and the Spurs,Â the playoffs have been less of a forgone conclusion, attracting more and more viewers each year.Â During this decade alone, 4 different teams have already won the championship, inlcudingÂ two teams (the Pistons and the Heat) who haven’t won the championship in a long time.
I tend to compare these two eras in NBAÂ history toÂ watching movies.Â The earlier years, dominated by the former NBA titans,Â were tantamount to watching the same movie over and over again.Â Even though the movie is a classic, it getsÂ a little boring.Â Knowing what happens in the final scene takes away from the experience. However, seeingÂ teams like the Warriors and Cavaliers make the playoffs and upset someÂ of the better teams in the league is like watching a twistedÂ Steven King film. You are amazed and surprised when it happens, and you still can’t believe it long afterÂ it ends.Â In short,Â lack of knowledge is preferable to knowing the outcome. Does that mean that it would be good for the league for the Bulls, Lakers and Celtics never to win the championship again? No. In fact, when they do, we feel a sense of nostalgia, much like a watching a classic we had seemingly forgotten about. Nevertheless,Â variety is the spice of life and when new teams do well in the NBA playoffs, it makes for a more exciting summer.
This article was written by Nishan Wilde