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Whenever a superstar or a franchise star decides to leaves the team he’s been playing for a long time, he gets looked as a traitor, sell out, weak-minded, and a lot of other bad names fans can come up with. In reality, why should it matter where players want to go? Why is it OK for fans to switch teams and ride bandwagons whenever they feel like it, but players can’t? A lot of fans are quick to jump ship when a team is struggling, but want a player to stay “loyal” to a franchise even during it hard times, sure it builds character, but why should a player who puts his body on the line every game go through that? Why should fans stick around when their team is only finishing the season with 17 wins? When a team has a star player, and no direction you shouldn’t fault him for leaving. But in this new NBA, we have players like Kevin Durant who went to the Golden State Warriors after being on a team who finished the season in the Western Conference Finals. Some people are looking at him like he sold out because they were so close to the NBA finals again, and he went to an already established NBA powerhouse. During the regular season, Durant was already rumored to go to Golden State as a free agent anyways, so why are people so shocked that it actually happened? I believe us as fans have to respect where these players want to go as free agents. If a player, in any sport invested a lot of his career in one city, he deserves to go to a new one to play in if it will make him happy. As human beings we have to explore what’s out there in the world because it’s all a learning experience. I doubt he will regret going from Oklahoma City to the Bay Area, sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and see where life takes you. I’m not sure if he will ever return to OKC as a player, but he gave you his all for the time he was there, and his decision to leave should be respected. That’s just my opinion.
Free Agent = Free To Go
I know, I’m supposed to talk basketball on this blog, but I just read an article about the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs ratings being low for the first time in 11 years. While there has been a lot of great games in this year’s NHL playoffs, I guess people aren’t flocking to their television screens to watch. There could be some reasons, like fans who’s favorite team missed the playoffs didn’t want to tune in, you’re into the NBA Playoffs more, you’re a fan of the outdoors during spring, or maybe you’re a Pittsburgh Penguins hater (had to throw that in there, Go Pens Go). Whatever the reason maybe, I believe it all falls down to one thing, lack of drama. Just think about it, the NHL is pretty much the only Major League Sport that doesn’t promote drama. The NBA and the NFL are the two sports that thrive off drama, reasons being, the star players in both leagues are well known, and they both rule social media. The NHL has a #NHLTwitter but compared to the levels of #NBATwitter and #NFLTwitter it doesn’t even come close. When ESPN broadcasts a game they make sure to sell whatever story is out there during the broadcast. Just recently, they have been speaking on the Draymond Green suspension for game 5 and the name calling of LeBron James in various outlets. They push the drama because it forces people to tune in to see how the Warriors and LeBron James will respond to all the drama, they’re selling real life movie scripts. They promote it because it starts discussions, not just in the sports bars, but on social media as well.
The NHL on the other hand promotes the game, the commentators will discuss some of the issues that’s headlining the league, but overall they just promote what’s going on out there on the ice. Major discussions regarding the NHL as of late has been the fighting & concussion issues, BORING. Even Star players in the NHL are boring, they have money, but overall, most of them seem to be low key and don’t want the spotlight like NBA players, unless you’re Evander Kane. The NBA promotes their league the same ways television networks promote their upcoming shows. While the NHL has their Rivalry Week, it’s not the same if its the Pittsburgh Penguins vs Washington Capitals or the New York Rangers every week. They have to start thinking out of the box when it comes to promoting their league & players, but that’s if it chooses to, and since most players don’t want the spotlight, it kind of puts them in a bind. Superstars & stories sell the league, and brings in a ton of ratings, the NHL seems to lack in those areas. What do you guys think, should the NHL promote their league the same way as the NBA & NFL to gain viewers? Or should they keep it the same?
During the first round of the playoffs when the Toronto Raptors were facing off against the Indiana Pacers, most people that know I’m a Pacers would ask me, who are you rooting for? I would tell them the Pacers, with no hesitation. I knew the stakes living in the GTA, and the pressure on the Raptors to get out of the first round, but still I was rooting for my squad. One Raptors fan on YouTube went as far as saying that I am a sell out to my city because I am rooting for the Pacers, but Why? I have been rooting for the Pacers before the Raptors came into existence. I grew up a huge Reggie Miller fan, which is why I am even a Pacers fan to this day. I have also been a Pittsburgh Penguins fan since my childhood also, even though growing up I watched more Maple Leafs than Penguins. Mario Lemieux is also my favorite player of all time, so there’s that. Being a fan of a team in my opinion consists of three things, the team’s reputation, history of winning and if you’re born into the fandom; which a lot of Maple Leafs fans are. While the Pacers have been consistently competitive over the years, but never won an NBA championship, they have made the conference finals plenty of times, while the Penguins just won their 4th Stanley Cup this season. What has any of the Toronto major sports teams done to make me switch to being a “true” Toronto sports fan? It all began with the management during a poor stretch where the teams had no direction, no pulse for winning and was just in it to make money. There was a lot to not like about the way Toronto teams used to operate, and living in Toronto witnessing it first hand, it was never worth the stress to dive deep in Toronto sports fandom, even when I wanted them to turn it around.
Toronto teams recently got new ownership in Rogers and Bell, and now the focus has turned to winning. Since they took over, the city’s teams have been competitive and even making the playoffs, when the Maple Leafs made the playoffs it showed the city’s true potential when you put winning teams out there. I am happy for the turnaround, I root for the teams and go to the games, but I will not root for them when my true teams are facing them, but why? I have come to the conclusion that my love for the Pacers and Penguins have nothing to do with the cities they reside in. I have never been to Pittsburgh, and I have never set foot in Indiana but I love their teams, they have my loyalty. I look at it as brand loyalty in a lot of ways because to me sports is entertainment, it’s a business as well. The best thing about living in a major city like Toronto is that you have access to Major League Sports, and you have options to purchase tickets to be entertained by them whether it’s the NBA or NHL, not a lot of cities can say that. To me its more about accessibility if you can afford to go to the games. It’s better and cheaper than traveling abroad and paying a lot more money to see your team play.
You have to look at it at that perspective, that’s my perspective anyways. If the Raptors win the NBA Championship or the Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup, regardless of what happened during the playoff, I will be there to be apart of the celebration. Anytime you can witness your own city celebrate a Major League Championship you do it. There’s people in Toronto that hate Toronto teams with a passion, I am not one of those people, I actually want to see them succeed and do good, because it’s healthy to win. Every fan that roots for outside teams always has the options to root for the home team if they choose too, and the owners who own these teams can always try to gain new fans, it’s all a choice, but at the end of the day, loyalty always wins, wherever your heart is, that’s where you’ll go.
Had a chance to attend the BBVA Rising Star Challenge at the Air Canada Centre, and it felt great to scratch an All Star event off my bucket list. I really want to attend ASW in Charlotte next year now, who knows, maybe you’ll see me there. Check the photos and video below
Photos can be found on my Facebook: FACEBOOK: NBA ALL STAR TORONTO PICTURES
*All my articles from spacethefloor are moving to this site. Enjoy.
This moment right here is my favorite Kobe moment, December 2nd 2012 was the day I witnessed greatness. In a packed Air Canada Centre on a Sunday, Raptors up 92-91, game winding down in the 4th quarter. Everyone in the building knew where that ball was going, the only question was, will the Raptors force somebody else to beat them? Kobe got the ball off the inbound, one dribble to the corner and splash, put the Lakers up by one. This game was special to me, because it was the first time I seen Kobe Bryant and the Lakers live in person. The picture above (taken with my Blackberry) showed the ‘calm before the storm’ as Lakers fans and Raptors fans held their breath in the closing moments. I’ve seen a ton of big shots by Kobe on television and League Pass, but seeing it in person was amazing, and one of the best sports experience in my life. Unless I could get to Los Angeles next year for a Lakers game, this will be the only time I will have seen Kobe in person, and for it to be my only memory of seeing him in live, I would be satisfied with that.
Here’s an NBA Live 16: Tribute Video I did for Kobe Bryant titled “Farewell.” Enjoy, and Congrats Kobe on an eventful basketball career, I can’t wait to see what’s next.
I know it’s early in the season, but the Warriors are really showing no case of the championship hangover and I’m very excited about it. There could be many factors that could be motivating them, like the little off-season jabs coming from the Rockets and the Clippers, the doubters saying that they didn’t play anybody in the playoffs, Steph Curry has it easy because all guards in the West were injured. Nobody is really giving them credit for their success, and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart for putting that FIRE in them because the best is yet to come from these guys. The best thing about this team is that they dictate their style of play and they do not compromise it, they just keep coming at you leaving you with more questions than answers. Also, they have the reigning MVP, Stephen Curry who is playing All-Team God status right now and we’re only 4 games into the season. Fans all over the world are calling Steph the best player in the league right now, sorry LeBron. The way the Warriors are playing is like a living organism, Steph is the brain, and his teammates are the body. Everything they do is in sync and when you think you’ve figured out how to stop them, Steph Curry the evolving brain does something out of this world to make opponents shake their heads. They remind me of the Steve Nash Phoenix Suns, but A LOT more deadlier because of their commitment to defense. So when you think you’ve planted a virus, the Warriors just figure out a cure, evolve, and come back with a vengeance to make sure it doesn’t happen again. They are a living organism that adapts on the fly, and that is scary for the rest of the NBA. As a fan of NBA basketball you MUST NOT, and I mean MUST NOT take this team for granted this year. They are a special group and a rare breed that only comes along once every generation. If your team happens to play them, you will have to appreciate the spectacle of what might be done to your team, because they are that great, and you wish your team was that great. It’s rare for finesse teams to be tough also, but they are both, so appreciate what we have this year in the NBA with these Warriors, and enjoy it until the playoffs arrive, because that’s when the War is On!
What type of organism would you describe the Golden State Warriors as?
*All my favorite articles from SpaceTheFloor are being moved to this site*
Watching basketball, mainly NBA basketball has become a tradition in my personal life over the last 9 years, how did that come about? Well before my deep dive into NBA basketball I used to be a huge NHL fan. Growing up in Toronto, hockey (Maple Leafs) was the priority over every other sport, so I always had to tune in to watch. I grew up a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, and Mario Lemieux was my favorite athlete growing up next to Reggie Miller, but Maple Leafs hockey was the most accessible sport to watch in Toronto at the time, so I watched them. When the NHL locked out I had to find an alternative sport to watch, and basketball at the time was my second love, so I tuned in. I was more of a casual fan enjoying the games, and watched any team that was on TV. I really wanted to watch the Indiana Pacers, because at the time, they were one the hottest team in the league, they were my favorite team and I wanted to root for them on a daily basis, something I never had the chance to do. Once the NBA introduced League Pass, I decided to give it a try. It was also cheap in terms of pricing compared to the U.S. pricing so it was a low risk. I loved the fact that I could pick and choose what games I wanted to watch and hop between games, since then I’ve purchased League Pass every year. It just became an obsession after that because a lot of the games were good, and entertaining.
For a while I had put my life schedule to work around the games. I’d get home from work around 5pm so it gave me a 2 hour window to do whatever it was I had to do, because tip off time was usually 7pm. I really didn’t care who was playing, just wanted to watch basketball, the Pacers usually started at 7:30 or 8pm, but hey, basketball is basketball, and I had to watch. Also with the addition of twitter during games also made the games much more fun to watch, because of the no-holds barred tweets I would read, and the reaction of every big play of the game. The entertainment factor was better than watching any prime time television show. You also didn’t need to check sports news because everything was down the time line already.
Watching the NBA just became an addiction, I would blow friends off just to watch the Pacers vs Bulls on a Saturday night, and living in Canada, that game wouldn’t be shown in any sports bar. I used to go home for lunch at half time during the ABC mid-day games and just watch the whole second half before going back to work. It just became second nature to consume these games, If Cleveland was playing Boston, I had to see the game, I wasn’t trying to DVR anything, it was see it live, or don’t watch it at all.
Here I am, in 2015, still loving NBA basketball, still loving to trash talk with fans on twitter, still loving to pay to watch teams come into the Air Canada Centre and take on the Raptors. I even took a trip last year to Las Vegas for Summer League to experience what it’s like to be around real basketball fans. It has become a real hobby for me. It keeps me busy and sometimes too busy I’ve considered it an addiction. I’m really honest enough with myself to know that I have this problem I love so much. I now realize there has to be some type of balance in my life. It has slowed down other parts of my life too. I was kind of begging for the Warriors to sweep the Cavaliers so I can finally not watch basketball.
The personal problem is realized, the season is over and it is now time to focus on other parts of my life. I am such a multi-talented person, and it’s really not good for me to put myself in any type of box. I told myself a long time ago that I will try not to become addicted to anything, usually meaning cigarettes or some other type of drug, never thought I would be addicted to a sport, but I am.
I think from this day on, or maybe the summer at least, I will figure out some type of balance. Life is full of possibilities, you just have to let your brain work first, and having an addiction prevents it from doing its job, so I plan on figuring this thing out, so I can enjoy a dose of basketball and life at the same time.
So here’s to toning down my addiction for next season, Cheers!!!
Thanks for Reading!!!