Play The Hits: Stars Making Basketball A Year-Round Sport

A few years back, sports media shifted in a way we had never seen before. The NFL and football talk were everywhere, even when the season had subsided. Now, with the league’s superstars bigger than ever, the NBA is doing the exact same thing and actually doing it better than the NFL.

It’s not really the NFL’s fault, though, it’s just that people care more about NBA players because they’re not covered up in helmets and pads.

Basketball is driven solely by it’s stars, a stark contrast to the NFL where it’s more about the logo on a team’s helmet. In fact, the thought of stars driving commerce and interest is the sole reason why the Big-3 is preparing for it’s first season — we just can’t get enough of the actual players, even when they’re past their prime.

And then there is the upcoming NBA Draft, an event that seems bigger this year than it ever has. The NFL Draft is also huge, but outside of quarterback prospects, it’s largely overwhelmed with players we’ve never heard of and quickly fades to a dull roar. In contrast, the NBA is chalk-full of draft-night trades and posturing to land the next big-name free agent. Then, this year, we jump right into Big-3 hoops on FS1, the upcoming free agent period, and the suddenly popular NBA Summer League.

Personally, the trade talks, free agent wooing, and rumor mill are more exciting than the actual on-court product — at least this year’s regular season product. This is also something that varies from the NFL, because let’s face it, NFL rumors are nowhere near the heart-pounding action we see on Sundays (even in the regular season).

Overall, this is the vision of new commissioner Adam Silver and his progressive nature — make the NBA viable all year. He’s the same guy who supports gambling, which until a few years ago was a taboo subject. Rather than stick to old-school politics, Silver is the only commissioner on the front line of the issue. Some other leagues — like the NHL and MLB — have joined the NBA in aligning themselves with the DFS-world, but in terms of event wagering, Silver is by far the most outspoken.

The NFLPA and select NFL teams do have ties with Draft Kings and FanDuel — but not the actual league.

While I’ve been iffy on the idea of only Cleveland and Golden State being title contenders, I must say that it’s driving the intrigue of this off-season and beyond. Myself and basketball fans everywhere want to see the next ‘super-team’ built, which is really why the free agent period is must-see television. Regardless of the fact that the regular season was boring last year, it will be miles ahead this year and several seasons after.

Lonzo Ball on the Lakers will draw massive eye-balls and will break every Summer League TV rating out there. The same can be said if Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Jimmy Butler, or Paul George wind up wearing new jerseys. Then, if LeBron bails on Cleveland for the 2018–19 season, hoops could get a serious stranglehold on the year-round landscape.

The NFL saw a ratings dip this year, and personally, I am not one to watch football out of season. Basketball, however, is different. It’s more gossip-mag’y than football, something that hurts to say but is compelling for listeners and viewers.

There’s a saying in the radio industry — “play the hits”.

Translation: more LeBron, more Durant, basically anyone who move the needle. The NBA has done a great job of creating stars…and all the consumer wants is the hits.

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