NBA: Rest vs. Reward
All day while at work, I'm dreaming of being home resting. While I'm home resting I'm normally arranging the next time I'll be able to rest. While I'm asleep -- you guessed it -- I'm dreaming about the next time I get to sleep.
"Where will I fall asleep?"
"In what position will I fall asleep?"
"Shit, did I set my alarm?"
Are all things I think about in preparation of sleep and during? I say all that to say; rest is important and generally fun to do.
The NBA's sponsor's and fans have issues with players, especially marquee, big name guys, resting during the regular season (and rightfully so). It strips fans a chance of seeing the biggest names of the sport and takes dollars away from TV partners when ratings dip. Its not like tickets are $25. Once purchased-- often months in advance -- fans get their hopes up and save just to find out the day of their son's favorite player will be dressed like them on the bench (just a couple hundred dollars difference in wardrobe but you get my point).
But here's the fan conundrum I face: As a diehard fan of LeBron James (James harden is approaching this unenviable list of mine), I always looked forward to seeing him play in person. It would be all I talked about. But if he decided to take the night off, I wouldn't care too much; seeing him win a ring at the end of the season is far more important. If what they think is rest will get them closer to their goal, what do I know? They know their bodies. Look, I get it. I have no kids; my feelings on this are coming from a selfish place. If I had a little one running around who wanted to go I'd want heads to roll.
Their job is really hard. We see it as a game but I assure you, they exert far more energy doing their job than most do completing theirs. Its a strenuous task breaking down their bodies for six months out of the year. Breaking news: they need rest. This late in the season all of the players are playing through pain and fatigue. Some team's seasons will be over the second week in April, some the middle of June.
It’s also amusing to me how some fans are so pro-ownership. The blame is often solely placed on the players broad shoulders that they are the ones making these decisions. They're not. As Cavs GM David Griffin said in a statement after the league reached out to him about resting players, "I have a job to do." His job is to ensure his team is in the best shape possible, physically and strategically, to win a championship. Why don't we hear more people calling for management to take accountability? Cause we are assuming its all happy go lucky that these guys are getting paid millions to play a "game."
So how do we fix it? It’s a complicated question that will probably be answered in the coming seasons.
Will the league start fining players who miss games to "rest"?
Will players agree to take less money in the next Collective bargaining Agreement to shorten the season by a few games? (Not likely).
Will the league push forward the start of the season to eliminate back-to-backs all together?
These are all questions fans and sponsors are dying to get answered. Only sure thing: if the league wants a change, one party will be sacrificing dollar signs.