By: Will Stevenson
So I at home on my day off, it’s around 6:15pm, I’m scarfing down the last piece of pepperoni pizza from Lil Ceasars (don’t judge, it’s a recession) and I browse the game times of each NBA game to see who I want to check out for the night. Memphis versus Cleveland is at 7:00pm, it’s the earliest game of the night so I figure I’ll check it out.
~ Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will not make the trip to Memphis tonight for rest.
Well then. No matter, I’ll just finish up the Lebatard podcast and move on over to Bomani Jones until the eight o’clock game start rolling in. All the while I’m on twitter and Bleacher Report as the photos of disappointed fans begin to roll in. They drove hundreds of miles to come see Lebron play and this was their chance to have that experience: There experience was stolen because a few important players decided it was more important to rest their bodies for a season that is longer than it should be.
I’ve never been much of a go-to-game fan, for the tickets are expensive, the parking is about the same, and the food is overpriced. There isn’t any commentary to listen to, you never know who is sitting in your section, and the entertainment during the timeoutis pretty corny at best. I get the experience part of going to a game from a fan’s perspective: You and whomever you are taking are enamored with the athleticism of these players and you want to experience that up close and personal. All the things I named earlier as far as parking, concessions and seating are part of the experience. Even if you have the nosebleeds, just the fact that you were in the building the night Lebron came to town is something you can share for the rest of your life. Who knows, he might drop 50, or the opposing team may upset the reigning champs in a nail-biter. I get it. I really do.
Don’t you want a day off? Do you work all of the time? You ever not want to go to work, knowing you had to go back eventually? The NBA Season has put players and teams in a position to take advantage of rest. It’s not the teams’ fault, it’s not the players fault, and it’s not the fans fault. Four games in five nights, back to backs, the rodeo trips or long road trips that are 10 games in 14 nights are just among some of the factors that come into play when players or teams decide it’s time to take a rest. In theory, every game is important. When we look at the business side, the availability of the top stars is of the utmost importance in selling the game. Let’s be honest though, if Tristan Thompson gets a healthy scratch it won’t mean much in the fans eyes, unless they are fans of Thompson or have family ties. Fans want to see Joel Embid play 30 minutes a night every night, not realizing he needs rest and minutes restrictions until they feel comfortable that he can be on the floor full-time. If Embid is playing heavy minutes, but gets injured in February from the same injury, then what’s the point.
I once went to a Hornets versus Bulls game and Michael Jordan didn’t make the flight, nor did Scottie Pippen. I don’t even remember if I was actually mad or not. I don’t even remember the game or if I had a good time. My dad could have been mad that he took his son to see Michael Jordan and didn’t get the chance, or he could have taken the moment as it was: Time well spent with the family.
So what do we want? Do we want fines for players who take games off? Are we going to fine teams if Lebron only plays 28 minutes instead of 36? Are we going to fine players for not playing the fourth quarter when their team is up 30 points? What about the kids that came to see Cam Newton only to realize tat he was suspended for the first drive? We complain about many things in sports, so now we can add this to the list. The mere fact that a player or team would have the audacity to save themselves for a long season is a slap in the face to the paying customer. We should all throw away our sick time and vacation days.