More reasons to be excited for the NBA’s return
Added by Darius Amos on November 27, 2011.
I caught the middle portion of “The Shawshank Redemption” on television Friday afternoon, and thankfully so. There are dozens of memorable scenes and lines from the film that stick in your brain, but one resonates so loudly this weekend.
Red (magnificently portrayed by Morgan Freeman): I find that I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head.
Other than a New York Jets’ playoff berth, the thought of basketball’s return to normalcy is the only sports notion that can make me giddy. And based on Gang Green’s play of late, the end of the NBA lockout could not have arrived at a better time. I know it’s not yet set in stone, but the deal between the NBA and players union right now is more likely to happen than any of my football fantasies.
As a fan of the New York Knicks and writer for the New Jersey Nets, the news of the lockout’s end has filled my mind with happy thoughts – Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony continuing the New York renaissance, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez doing the same in Jersey, new and endless hoops highlights rather than the same clip of the Blake Griffin throwdown against the Knicks last year. Here are a few more thoughts and can’t-waits that show my excitement over the imminent return of the NBA:
1. D-Will back in the states. On one hand, I was thankful that Deron Williams spent the offseason playing hoops in Turkey. He dropped 50 points in a game last week and is likely already in mid-season form. But with each day and game overseas, there was some concern for D-Will, particularly over his health and welfare. There was an earthquake in Turkey while he was there. He plays with such ferocity that he risks injury each time he took the court, and of course, he was playing without the NBA’s insurance. But with the lockout seemingly over, D-Will can come home to the friendly confines of the NBA arena.
2. Real news about Kris Humphries. The Humph was a beast last season, recording 21 double-doubles and appearing nightly on highlights flashed by ESPN, SNY and the YES Network. We all thought that once the 2011-12 season got underway, Humphries would resume that high level of play. But then the wedding to Kim Kardashian happened, then the lockout, then splitsville with Kim. All of a sudden, Humphries was becoming a regular on TV, but not the TV that sports fans know and love. Our Humphries belongs on SportsCenter and NBA TV, not on TMZ and Access Hollywood.
3. Hoops in New Jersey. In my mind, I already conceded that we watched the final New Jersey Nets home game last spring. With the team headed to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn next year, the lockout jeopardized the Nets final season in the Garden State. Now that the dispute is about to end, Jersey is guaranteed 33 regular season NBA games at the Prudential Center in Newark. And then the team will receive the appropriate and final sendoff that it deserves.
4. Relief for NBA and arena employees. This is not a nod to the NBA players – I’m strictly talking about the common people who depend on the NBA for a paycheck. From the arena food vendors to ticket salespeople, to camera operators and beat writers, there were thousands who were out of work because of the lockout. And since no one was fighting on behalf of those workers, all of those employees were at the mercy of the players union and the owners. Thankfully, they, too, can get back to work.
5. New York sports needs a lift. Baseball is over, hockey hasn’t picked up steam, and the Jets and Giants continue to disappoint. The New York Metropolitan area desperately needed a pick-me-up and another sport to get fans excited. Yes, many fans out there have been disenfranchised with the NBA because of the lockout, but at least the option to watch and root for the Nets and Knicks is our own again.
6. Big East instability. I’m still thoroughly incensed over the mess that the conference is in. I know there are no changes this year, but the fact that Syracuse and Pitt are on their ways out and others are planning exit strategies has put a sour taste in my mouth. In this area, Big East basketball is almost as big as the NBA. Personally, I couldn’t watch a Big East hoops games this season without a queasy feeling in my stomach, so I’m happy that a little pro basketball will serve as a much-needed distraction.
7. NBA rookies. Like a kid staring at wrapped presents on Christmas eve, the anticipation for the NBA rookies to hit the court and prove themselves to the world must be at Everest-like levels. And not only do they want to show off their skills, the fans want to know what kind of unknown talent is on their teams. Did the Nets strike gold with MarShon Brooks or did they pick up another Yinka Dare (rest his soul)? Do the Knicks have a shining star in Iman Shumpert, or did they draft a career D-League player? We now have the chance to find out the answers to those questions.
8. Stephen A. Smith. Love him or hate him, you have to feel good for the bodacious ESPN personality. Stephen A. loves talking sports, but he’s at his best when he’s talking hoops. If you listened to him during the lockout, even when he was discussing baseball or football, you felt that something was missing. Now that basketball is back, Stephen A. will be back in full force. While speaking Saturday morning, just hours after news broke of the handshake deal, Stephen A. told the world that he was “beautifully ecstatic.” That’s the Stephen A. we love.
So, basketball fans, tell Double G Sports why you’re excited (or not) for the NBA lockout to end. You can leave your comments at the bottom of this post.