By JIHAD SHATARA
Eleven years ago, 2006, was a great year for basketball. The NBA playoffs came around and almost every team in the 16-team bracket had a legit shot at winning a title.
Young stars like Dwyane Wade, Lebron James and Tayshaun Prince were split apart. Seasoned veterans like Kobe Bryant, Shaq, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki were all on separate teams fighting for the NBA crown.
There was no “Big 3” that came together via free agency. The teams featured in the playoffs were not teams who constantly tanked either. It was great basketball to watch. The Heat were a No. 2 seed when they won the East. The Mavericks were fourth seed in the West.
Nowadays, we are lucky to see a No. 2 seed even compete in the conference finals. In 2007, an eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors upset the No. 1 seeded Dallas Mavericks. There was parity in a once fun league.
The worst part is the news media chooses to make this acceptable. The news media have made it seem like this is the new norm. Glorifying teams like Philadelphia for tanking and playing the lottery. Or praising the Cavs for luring Lebron back with shiny players like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Fast forward to present day. The league is filled with 18 to 19 year old kids who are not ready to be in a man’s league. Imagine being a 19-year-old guarding Lebron James. I am sure it is not too pleasant. The NBA was once a fun league that had diversity. It was fun to watch knowing that anyone could win a seven-game series. Hopefully we see that day where teams do not tank to try and win. Hopefully the league will be as fun as that 2006 season.