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The NBA is Basketball

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After hearing and reading way too much about the Donaghy scandal, I was driving home tonight and wondering why this issue was causing some to question the future of the NBA. Once home, I saw this great post on True Hoop where Henry had a broad sampling of people who follow the NBA ponder whether or not the League is in jeopardy because of Donaghy. Check it out, there are some great responses.

As for my response, I'd answer, no way. Sure the League has some issues, but Donaghy's idiocy won't slow down the NBA one bit. In fact, David Stern's presser gave me the impression that there's a 50/50 chance that more refs are involved. Big deal. Let's say 20 refs are involved. I don't care. It still won't bring the League down. In fact, it may end up improving the NBA in the long run. The sliding scale of justice practiced by NBA refs has been an issue for as long as I can remember following the game. Setting a new standard for refs to follow and even bringing in a new corps of refs trained from day one to follow a stricter standard would improve confidence in the game for those so called casual fans who are supposed to be turned off now that one ref got in too deep with the mob.

Maybe my view is a little different since I've witnessed a franchise whose players have set the gold standard for doing things to drive away fans. Locally, many fans have been driven away, but they're not dead and I guarantee you the Fieldhouse will rock again if the team starts to win.

Basketball is not hockey. The game is part of every American's DNA whether they like it or not. The young talent in the League right now is fabulous and the style of play around the NBA has gradually improved for several years in a row. The NBA will survive because it is bigger than any one ref, or for that matter, bigger than any one owner, player, or commissioner. Even if a majority of owners screw up the league beyond recognition, it will rise again in time because it's basketball. The best of the best will always hoop.

I'm also confident in the league thanks to a case study in my family room. Just tonight my six year old son was playing an imaginary game, announcing the action as he played. Since he's watched the Team USA game several times now, his games have expanded past Jermaine O'Neal, Deron Williams, and LeBron James. Now he includes Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and all the rest. He's figured out which NBA teams they all play for and what their numbers are. Meanwhile, my three year old runs into the room as if being announced and says he's Donyell Marshall. I have no idea where that came from and yes, I'm worried. But the point is, these kids love basketball, like millions of other kids around the world. They can't decipher the difference between college and pro ball. It's just basketball and it ain't going anywhere because we love it.