Buzzsaw Sports Guy: a satirical look at sports
NBA Commissioner David Stern announced yesterday that this year’s playoffs will be extended slightly to encompass nearly half of the calendar year. The new format will abbreviate the regular season in late March and will call for an ongoing playoff experience that won’t end until some time in early to late August.
The new system calls for a small reduction in the number of regular season games played, as each team will be required to complete 70 games for seeding purposes only. All 30 teams will then proceed to the best-of-11 first round of the playoffs, referred to simply as the “play-in round.” The top seed in each conference will be the exceptions to this, earning a bye to the second round of the playoffs. However, they will still be required to participate in a best-of-7 showcase exhibition series against one another as all other teams play out the first round.
The showcase series is meant to be a preview of what the NBA Finals might look like months down the road, and like the All Star Game, defense cannot be considered as an option over the duration of the series by rule. ESPN executives immediately reported they look forward to dedicating a majority of SportsCenter to covering the razzle dazzle plays that are sure to occur in the series every year. Stern and all NBA administrators hope the showcase will pit the Lakers against the Heat this season.
“So help me God, if the Spurs make it, I might have to shoot Tim Duncan myself,” Stern said during his press conference. “That guy would take a lay up over a between the legs windmill dunk any day. Whenever he succeeds, it’s like watching money blow out the window for me.”
The bold move marks the first time the NBA playoff format has been restructured since 2003, when the Conference Quarterfinals were extended to being the best-of-7 series fans have grown used to over the years. Stern admitted that pushy TNT executives were the most effective in persuading the NBA on the matter, as they put up “large quantities of money” to televise the playoffs for a period of several months. Stern would not say exactly how much money was offered. An anonymous TNT representative, however, discussed the transaction over a phone interview.
“Are you kidding me? Have you watched TNT when we’re not showing basketball?” he said. “It’s a fucking wasteland of Law and Order and CSI reruns. I’m not gonna lie, we’ve been shoving this move down the NBA’s throats for the past few years. Thank God it’s done.”
ESPN is also rumored to have participated in the lobbying effort. Executives turned down opportunities to comment, but anchor Stuart Scott was willing to provide some analysis.
“I don’t know if ESPN had anything to do with it, but we all get bored over July and August,” he said. “There are only so many boring baseball highlights we can tolerate.”
The new playoff structure will comprise of five best-of-11 rounds. A second All Star Break will be instituted in the middle of the third round in which star players from every team, whether eliminated or not, will get the chance to play. There will also be a dunk contest that LeBron James will be contractually obligated to participate in.
Although the sheer number of games seems enough to drag out the NBA playoffs to new, greater lengths, Stern made it clear that that would not be the only factor.
“NBA fans better count on several days off between these playoff games too,” he said. “Just because more are being played doesn’t mean we’ll get them out of the way any faster. In fact, we plan to make the rest periods even longer. In the past few years, it’s become common for teams to have two or even three days off between games, but that’s nothing. This spring and summer, count on waiting as many as five or six days between games, forever building up anticipation and drama, which I understand is a specialty of TNT.”
The player and coach reaction thus far has been drastically negative, with the NBA Player’s Association threatening a strike if their salaries are not increased in proportion to the increased length of the playoffs. James laments he will now have less time to “do shit with Jay-Z” over the summer, and Shaq reports he’ll be entirely out of energy and motivation by the end of the third round tops. Players and coaches aside, Stern could not relate to any of them in a reactionary phone interview.
“I don’t understand it,” he said. “Aside from teaching and other pro sports, I can’t think of any other career that completely stops for any time of the year. The money’s there for the taking. My question to the players is, why don’t we just take that money and keep the playoffs rolling for months and months on end?”