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Letter: NBA in need of serious reform

In response to Josh Nacion’s Oct. 1 column, “Despite disparity, new NBA season worth watching.”

I agree that there has never been true parity in the NBA.  However, the NBA has a problem that is not shared by the other major North American sports leagues.  I believe that the NBA must institute a hard salary cap to restore the integrity of the game, or else do away with the cap altogether and let the chips fall where they may. At least that way, there’d be no false pretense of trying to level the field.

Since 1987, only eight NBA franchises have won titles. Eight. In that same time period, 15 MLB, 13 NFL, and 15 NHL franchises won it all in their respective sports. It's only the NBA that has this problem. I'll be the first to admit that the Lakers, Spurs, Celtics and Heat front offices have been savvy, but only in the NBA are a full 2/3-3/4 of the league's franchises forced to abandon any dreams of a league title and redefine just winning a playoff game as success.

The NBA has a cloud hanging over it thanks to the hijinks of the last free agent season and the referee scandal a couple of years ago. As a friend persuasively argued to me, the league faces structural problems that cry out for reform. In what other sport can athletes say not only "I no longer will play for my team X," but "I now will only play for team Y. Trade me there?" The nature of basketball (5 on 5) leads to overvaluing an elite group of players, and they have the explicit power to collude and create championships.

Big markets will always have an edge and prevent true parity even with a hard cap and other reforms. There's an obvious draw for an athlete to play and live the luxury life in Miami or Los Angeles as opposed to Cleveland or Indianapolis. Reforms wouldn't fix everything, but they would absolutely create a better league.

Telling fans to just accept a corrupted product, while their hearts are put through the ringer every offseason when their owners and GMs grovel at the feet of prima donna players colluding to create dream teams is not the way to go. Are there still good storylines to follow? Sure. Is it still worth watching?  Depending on how much you like basketball for the sake of basketball, sure. Is the product good, though?  No. It's broken.


Kyle Glazier



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