The SPORTS PHILOSOPHER says: “The NBA? Who needs it?” By Brad Eastland

November 20, 2011
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     Okay.   So a quarter of the 2011/12 NBA season has already been canceled and the whole season is in jeopardy.   A labor dispute.   Players vs. owners.   Multi-millionaires vs. greedy billionaires.   The usual.

     It’s beginning to look like this high-stakes game of ‘chicken’ is going to cost everyone a whole year of pro basketball.   Players, owners, fans, the disillusioned disadvantaged youth of America crying out from the slums for their hoops heroes (bear with me), our local Lakers anxious to rebound from last year’s disaster with a new head coach, our Clippers trying to, uh, well, to do whatever it is they do, hey, we’re all losers here.   And that includes the people who write about hoops for a living.   Accordingly, I’ve been sitting around trying to come up with a fitting allegory, a useful parable, something I can compare or link this lost and criminally wasted NBA season to, to put our pain into proper perspective.   I think I’ve got it.

Remember---these guys do NOT care about you, folks...

Remember---these guys do NOT care about you, folks...

     Vaginal mesh surgery.

     Have I got your attention now?   Actually, it’s usually referred to on TV as ‘trans-vaginal mesh surgery’, which is even creepier.   And you can’t get away from it!   There are trans-vaginal mesh surgery commercials all over the TV nowadays, especially on networks that show sports, for some reason, which is what gave me the idea to compare trans-vaginal mesh surgery to the NBA.   Some of these commercials are ads for doing the surgery, but most of them (the commercials, that is) are ads by lawyers urging you to call them right away if you’ve experienced any complications from trans-vaginal mesh surgery.   And I can’t take it anymore.   I tell ya, seeing the words “vaginal” and “mesh” and “surgery” all in the same sentence gives me the willies.   It’s become a running joke in my household; my son will be watching TV and he’ll see one of these commercials starting up and I’ll be cooking dinner or in my office working and he’ll yell out, comically, sarcastically, but with no less trepidation in his voice than if he actually knew what trans-vaginal mesh surgery meant, “Dad!   Hey Dad!   Oh my God, there’s another trans-vaginal mesh commercial on the TV right now, make it stop!”   And then we both laugh.

     For a long time I resisted going online to find out exactly what trans-vaginal mesh surgery was, for fear that the knowledge might be even more grotesque than how it sounds.   But finally I couldn’t resist.   I looked it up.   And I was right.   It’s worse.   You all know I’m no prude, and I generally say exactly what’s on my mind no matter how risqué it is, just to shock people if nothing else, but this time I can’t.   I can’t type the words.   It’s too awful.   You’ll have to go Google it yourself….

     Anyway, what does all this ghastly groin physiology have to do with the NBA?   Easy.   They both annoy me equally, and I want them both to go away.

     Seriously.   I don’t need the NBA.   I really don’t.   The owners and the players don’t care about us, why should we care about them?   Truth is, the NBA started to lose me years ago, when they legalized wrestling in the low post, legalized travelling, legalized carrying it over, and started encouraging players on offense to jump directly into the defensive player to draw fouls.   It has become an ugly game, at least for me.   How about you?   What do you think?


     I don’t think we need basketball that bad.   We got football till February, and then we got baseball starting up again right after that.   Oh yeah, and we also have our own lives to worry about.   Therefore, it wouldn’t bother me a bit if they cancel the 2011/12 season altogether.  

     In fact I would trade the whole NBA season, right now, for someone in charge’s iron-clad assurance that there will never again be a trans-vaginal mesh commercial on television.

     How about you?   Does that sound reasonable?




     Before wrapping things up, I just have to say a few choice words about Rex Ryan, Darrelle Revis, and the New York Jets.   Ryan, their broad-bellied, bombastic coach, actually guaranteed a Jets Super Bowl appearance, out loud, before this season even started.   Revis, their all-pro cornerback, declared before last Thursday’s game against the Denver Broncos that he wasn’t worried about either the Broncos or their much-maligned 2nd-year quarterback Tim Tebow, and in fact the only thing he was worried about, he added, was “being bored”.   Yes, he actually said it.   Out loud.

     When I was growing up there was a thing, a sports phenomenon, we liked to call “talking bop”.   Talking bop referred to whenever a competitor in a sporting event—whether it was a pro player, or just us guys goofing around in a sandlot baseball game or touch football game, or waging war in a 3-on-3 hoops pick-up game—bragged excessively in advance of the upcoming game about how his team was surely going to win and how awful the other team was etc.   Besides being arrogant, cocky, crawling with disrespect and full of unnecessary hubris, talking bop was universally understood to be extremely unlucky.   So you never, ever, wanted to be caught talking bop.   It was a code we all lived by.

     Well, too bad Rex and Darrelle don’t live by the same code.   Last Thursday the Denver Broncos beat the heavily favored New York Jets 17 to 13.   Not only was it a big upset, and not only does that drop the highly touted Jets to a mediocre 5-and-5 record, but the way it happened must have been particularly vexing to them.   Because it was Tebow himself running and passing his team to victory, with a brilliant, epic, scream-your-approval-at-the-TV type 95-yard drive in the last six minutes.   Tebow ran it in from 20 yards out on 3rd-and-4 to cap this stupendous drive, and thus drive the Denver crowd into a frenzy.

     So in summation, Rex, the way things look now, not only will your Jets not make it to the Super Bowl, they’ll probably not even make the playoffs.   Hubris, Rex.   Ah, the dreaded Human curse of hubris….I’m afraid you and your broad belly are infected with it.

     And Darrelle?   I feel for you, man.   Getting to play a kid’s game for a living to the tune of over $10-million bucks a year and still getting bored so easily.   Must be rough on you.  

     Maybe that’s why Darrelle talked bop before the game.   I mean the first thing you learn about Sports growing up is that you never talk bop!   I guess he either doesn’t know any better, or he was just looking for some clever way to ease the pain of his damnable, infernal boredom, poor guy….

     I wonder if he’s bored now.


meet….The Sports Philosopher!image0022

Brad Eastland is an author, historian, film buff, undiscovered literary giant, and a much bigger fan of Tim Tebow than he is of anything having to do with trans-vaginal mesh surgery.    Brad’s other recent columns for La Verne Online can be found in the Sports Section under ‘The Sports Philosopher’ and also in Viewpoint under ‘Brad Eastland’s View’.    Brad has also written 4 novels* and over 20 short-stories.   

*To pick up a copy of his recently published novel of life at the racetrack, of triumph, and of utter despair, WHERE GODS GAMBLE, a tale of American mythology, simply search for it on,, or   He thanks you.   





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