There are any number of aspects of the typical NBA broadcast which get under the skin of the average viewer: timeouts in the final minutes that pour water over what should be the hottest part of the game, ads for shows that you have no interest in watching but are forced to endure ad nauseum, Reggie Miller … the list is endless.
But today I’ll nominate another candidate for the Stop It Already Museum: NBA Cares.
Is it me or does the league have a serious case of self-congratulationitis? I’ll grant you that the NFL and its similar United Way spots are a bit gratuitous, but those are 1) humorous and 2) paid ads, unlike the NBA Care spots which are 1) boring and 2) apparently gratis, as they show up as segues into live action.
Further, I can see the logic behind the NFL’s spots, in that they promote a charity – the United Way – which everyone can agree provides a service.
But what is the logic to promoting NBA Cares, other than to show how wonderful the league is? As far as I can tell from my limited viewing this spring, the majority of the spots show individual players painting graffitoed walls, reading books to second-graders, and making chit-chat with people in soup-kitchen lines. There is no specific action the ads – and, let’s face it, that’s what these are – command the viewer to take; no charity name, no organization, no website.
Hey, NBA, we get it. You care about “the community,” whatever that ambiguous phrase means. Good for you.
Granted, I’m a bitter Seattlite with a Paul Bunyon-sized axe to grind with the league, but this sort self-adoration stuff irks me to no end. What is the point, other than to flaunt the league’s bloated self-image? I suppose there is some merit to these bits of fluff, but I’ll be damned if I can see what it is.
I guess the seeds of disgust were planted for me when the NBA went to New Orleans for the All-Star Game, gave David Stern a paintbrush to show how much the league “cared” about helping the city … then watched the local team attempt to extort the same city to build a new practice facility to the tune of $20 million, or risk watching the team leave.
What does the NBA care about? Well, I can think of one thing.