The NBA adopted the first anti-drug policy in major professional sports on September 28, 1983. Under the current program, all players are subject to random testing for banned substances during the pre-season and all players are subject to testing for reasonable causes at any time. Steroids were added to the list of banned substances in 1999 and a handful of players have been suspended for abusing the substance, including Rashard Lewis, O.J. Mayo, and Darius Miles.
Despite the policy, many people feel the NBA is experiencing a steroid abuse problem and that some star players are abusing the drug. In 2011, the issue of steroid abuse in the NBA was called a huge problem by Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose. He is quoted: “It’s huge and I think we need a level playing field, where nobody has that advantage over the next person.”
The three players in the NBA that are most often talked about in regard to steroid abuse include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Dwight Howard. All comments are speculative, but James and Howard have been discussed because of their body proportions. Each man has an enormous shoulder span and body size in comparison to their small head, which is often a sign of drug abuse. The sure size of Dwight Howard in 2012 is much larger than in his early career. In 2011, a podcast surfaced on the Internet in which Kevin Durant put down the use of steroids. In 2012, boxing champ Floyd Mayweather, Jr. drew headlines when he accused Jeremy Lin of steroid abuse.
4. Fundamentals Have Changed
The NBA is not a good example of fundamental basketball. The league has changed over the last twenty years from a defensive minded game to high scoring matchups. The quick play makes for exciting television, but in some cases the art of defense is poorly represented. One of the most glaring changes is individual play. The NBA has evolved into a showcase for certain players, who will always take important shots under pressure situations. The strategy of the game has been lost to one-on-one play.
The NBA has accepted the new style and adopted a collection of rules to deter physical play. The most important being the ban of hand checking, which makes it more difficult for defensive players to stay in front of their opponent. Some feel that the strict defensive rules has given NBA players a passive stance, as they are often seen complaining for a call with little or no contact. In today’s game, more fouls are called and much more time is spent at the free throw line than in other competitive leagues. This has forced some to call the upcoming class of American superstars soft and flashy in comparison to their European counterparts.
3. Incredible Athletic Ability
The players of the NBA display some incredible athletic ability. They are among the most coordinated people in the world and are extremely talented jumpers. The record for a vertical jump was recorded by a professional dunker named Kadour Ziani at 61 inches (155 cm). At 5’10 Ziani is the only person to ever do a double windmill slam dunk. In the NBA, the top jumpers hold a vertical of around 44 inches. The slam dunk is also one of the most exciting plays in sports. There is nothing quite like an acrobatic dunk in the face of an opponent.
Another great thing about watching NBA games is the fast paced play. The action makes for a great live show. It is extremely fun to go visit the arena and witness the incredible strength, power, and length of the NBA players. The players are extremely explosive and emotional. It is great to watch a pure shooter perform at the top level. Basketball is also a streaky game, which makes it competitive and in some cases unpredictable.
2. ESPN Coverage
If you are a fan of SportsCenter and the ESPN network of television channels then you are all too familiar with the show’s repetitive nature. ESPN can’t be blamed for showing rerun episodes, but the content of SportsCenter is often examining the same stories day after day. ESPN has a certain agenda and they love to make controversy. The network likes to focus on two major sports, the NFL and the NBA. During the NBA playoffs, ESPN devotes countless hours to examining every angle of the games. This is great if you want to hear people rant about LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the NBA referees, but the information can quickly get repetitive.
ESPN has turned itself into a catalyst for some media stories with little importance, such as the play of New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin. You might wonder why so much attention is paid to the NBA on ESPN? One reason is that ESPN and its affiliate ABC hold the majority of the NBA broadcast contracts and the games are played on those channels. It is good business to promote the sports that you cover. When the NCAA basketball tournament comes around in March, the games are hardly mentioned on ESPN because the company doesn’t hold any rights to the broadcast.
1. The Refs Control the Game
For starters, it feels like a disproportionate number of NBA referees are really old. Unlike any other sport, officials in the NBA are constantly blamed by the media for making bad calls and controlling the game. Players and coaches in the NBA have been known to get upset at the officials for inconsistent work. Some people feel NBA games are called differently during the playoffs, with the ultimate goal being to extend a series. In the NBA, it often appears that games are pushed to a close matchup and the work of the officials is amateur on each end of the court.
Basketball is a unique sport in that the refs have a large influence over the series. The game is fast-paced and it can be difficult for officials to determine the separation between a charge and a block. For this reason, it is important for basketball refs to be patient and make sure contact is made before blowing the whistle. This technique is basic, but often lost to some NBA refs who are seen anticipating contact over and over. At least once every playoff series, a player in the NBA will make a public comment about the officials favoring one side during a contest. Another way NBA referees control the game is through the distribution of fouls to star players.