What is the NBA's marketing strategy? It's simple; superstar personalities. That's it. Yup....that simple, that straight, that clear-cut. David Stern and his posse don't much favor the hard-working, play-as-a-team aspect. Ever seen the NBA market the Spurs? How about the Pistons of the mid-2000's? That's what I thought. They want flashy, brash, in-your-face cocky individualism. Me first! I need to get my touches, yo! With that said, who do you think the NBA's league marketing department and the four-letter network were pulling for to win the finals? Exactly, you can answer that one without saying anything.
Okay, I'll get back to that issue in a moment but let me spin this off really quick. Before last summer I never really had any bad blood for LeBron, I really couldn't come up with much that was too spiteful. He was just another big-name, self-crowned drama-queen NBA superstar. Then came the decision. It may have been the worst self-PR decision a professional athelete ever made, or maybe the best, depending on how much Queen James really likes being the villain. James enraged not just a whole city, not even JUST a whole state. He decided to royally destroy any and all credibility he had to pretty much anyone and everyone North of South Beach. Oh he got his attention and face-time for sure. Any PR is good PR right LeBron?? ESPN also took full control over the whole circus that was the decision and the move to Miami, making themselves the TMZ of the whole NBA (which they have a stake in having a TV contract). I was a new-found hater, along with tens of millions of other sports fans.
Back to the topic at hand, the season started awfully for Queen and his associates after their little rock-concert self-pep-rally at the American Airlines Arena that summer. Cleveland, now left with one of the worst teams in the league, was feeling vindicated. Miami however got their act together and roared into the playoffs. After beating Chicago, they entered the finals as the clear favorite. Dallas was there, and everyone seemed to ignore the fact that they had bumped off the defending two-time champs in LA. David Stern's plan was now in place, and he and all of Bristol CT. were waiting with baited breath. The Mav's were supposed to lay down to the new dynasty, the new Chicago Bulls were here. Get out of the way for the Queen and his court.
Dallas was up against more than just a superstar team. Miami were the media darlings. What only a few people realized was that Mark Cuban and his team were up against a professional sports ideology. A selfish, glamour-wrapped, marketed and pre-packeged way to play the game in the flashiest way possible. Forget fundamental basketball, forget a deep bench, forget a team-game. This was about style, attitude and sportsmanship. As the finals unrolled before us, we were quickly made aware of the maturity level, professionalism and attitude of both teams. We all know how that panned out. LeBron and Wade mocking Nowitzki's injuries was just one issue. The six-game series showed us what happens when the good guys fight back. When the plan doesn't go according to plan, when the spoiled brat doesn't get what he wants without having to work for it, he throws a fit (as he DID after losing the series). LeBron lashed out at the American public, those who pay to come to the games, buy his jersey, etc., in the lowest way possible. "Haha, you're poor!", "Haha! You have cancer!", "Haha! You're struggling!". Is this what David Stern wants his league portrayed as!? The fact that he, nor a single one of his league staff were not behind a mic opposing James' words the second they came out is shocking. Yet at the same time it's not all that shocking. LeBron, Miami and the Association are in bed together. They allow it to go on, they think it is a soap opera and they run it as such. Hence, James will get his ring(s?) one day, just not this year. David Stern will see to it, just as Gary Bettman saw to it that Crosby got his cup.
The NBA is the lowest form of all the major sports in this country. Sad, but true.