Ask Sawal

Discussion Forum
Notification Icon1
Write Answer Icon
Add Question Icon

Why nfl is better than nba?

3 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

And the list goes on and on.

But when it comes to the NFL and the NBA, what is worth comparing is the one thing that does make them both very similar, and that’s their desire to become America’s favorite (and biggest money making) past time.

In this article, we’re going to answer those questions and a whole lot more as we examine and compare the NFL and the NBA – their revenue, salaries, viewership, attendance and ratings – and try to figure out which sports league is positioning itself to be number one in America and in the world.

Let’s start by comparing each league’s revenue.

Since there are only 256 regular-season NFL games each year and 1,230 NBA matchups, you’d think that the bigger overall revenue stream would go to basketball.

But it doesn’t.

Last season, the NFL made $14 billion in total revenue, which was over $900 million more than they made the season before and a $6 billion increase from 2010.

The NBA, on the other hand, made $7.4 billion in revenue last season, up 25% from the prior season when they made a total of $5.94 billion.

NFL teams average more revenue, as well.

NFL sponsorship revenue reached $1.32 billion in the 2017-18 season, with beer, trucks and fast food being among the largest spenders.

NBA sponsorship revenue was $1.12 billion in the 2017-18 season, with insurance, fast food restaurants and medical retail being among the largest spenders. Beer, surprisingly, slipped down two slots to become the seventh biggest NBA sponsor.

Of the $14 billion that the NFL made last season, mostly from national media deals, they distributed more than half of it to its individual franchises.

Last season, every NFL team received $226.4 million in national revenue sharing, which comes out to more than $7.2 billion across the league.

To keep the NBA fair, all Basketball Related Income (BRI) – ticket purchases and concessions, TV deals, merchandising rights and apparel sales – is excluded from revenue sharing. Instead, all NBA teams pool their annual revenue together and then redistribute it – from high grossing teams to low grossing ones – and each team receives revenue equal to the salary cap that year. The salary cap for the 2017-18 NBA season was $99.093 million.

This one isn’t even close.

The Super Bowl actually brings in more revenue than both the NBA Playoffs and the MLB Playoffs combined.

Last season, the revenue from Super Bowl LII easily surpassed $500 million. Ad spending alone for in-game spots exceeded $400 million, as it did the previous season. Anheuser-Busch InBev and Fiat Chrysler Automotive were the top-spending parent companies in that game.

It’s a lot harder to track the total revenue of the  NBA Playoffs since each season it lasts anywhere from four games (if it’s a sweep) to seven games, and obviously the more games there are, the more money there is to be made by everyone.

Some more cynical fans suspect the reason some series go longer is because everyone wants to make more money.

At the end of the 2016-17 season, for instance, the NBA Playoffs between Lebron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers and Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors went six games and brought $223.9 million in ad revenue. AdAge reported that, “A seventh game likely would have tossed another $45 million on the pile.”

In last season’s NBA Playoffs, the Warriors swept the Cavs in four games, so the money was considerably less than the prior two years when there were more games.

Bottom line: the Super Bowl typically makes more than twice as much as the NBA Playoffs.

When it comes to team worth, the NFL has the advantage over the NBA by a whopping 52%. That big number is a bit deceiving, though, since that spread has been more than halved in the past five years due to the NBA’s recent growth spurt.

The average NFL team is worth $2.5 billion and according to Forbes Magazine that’s up 8% over last year. All but five of the NFL teams are worth at least $2 billion.

For the eleventh year in a row, the Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s most valuable team and the world’s most valuable franchise. They’re worth $4.8 billion, and that’s up 14%. The Buffalo Bills are last on the list with a value of $1.6 billion.

The average NBA team is now worth a record $1.65 billion. This is the first time in the history of that league that every team is worth over $1 billion.

The New York Knicks are the most valuable, worth $3.6 billion. Bringing up the NBA rear are the New Orleans Pelicans, worth $1 billion, which is up from $750 million a year ago.

Not only have NBA team values increased by 22% in the last year, franchise values have tripled over the last five years.

The major reason for that?

The league has positioned itself into the international market better than any other major U.S. sports league. NBA revenue outside the United States has been growing at a rate in the high teens annually.

Sal Galatioto, the president of leading sports finance and advisory firm Galatioto Sports Partners, says, “The NBA is extremely well-positioned for international growth. The product is excellent, and interest in basketball around the world continues to flourish.”

Much of the NBA’s international reach-out has been focused on China and Mexico.

Not really.

The NFL hasn’t done as much as the NBA to reach international audiences, and that’s one of the factors that’s hurting its overall numbers. The one region they’re focusing on?

The United Kingdom.

According to the Econ Review, NFL viewers in the United Kingdom increased by 60% in 2017, not an easy feat given that rugby is the primary sport known to those English sports fans.

In  2018, there are three NFL games scheduled to be played in the U.K.:

READ ALSO: NFL 2020 Week 1 Predictions and Picks

First year players in the NFL can expect to make an average of $365,000 per year, and that constantly rises anywhere from $5 to $10 thousand per year. Rookies make their big money through bonuses, including a roster bonus, a signing bonus, contact incentives and a few other formats.

Rookies typically start off at the NFL minimum, but exceptions are made for exceptional players. For example, this year Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield signed a four-year deal worth $32.68 million (with a $21.85 million signing bonus) and running back Saquon Barkley and the New York Giants agreed to a contract worth $31.2 million (with a $20.77 million signing bonus).

The average salary of a typical NFL player is $1.9 million per year while the average salary for an NFL quarterback is about $4 million per year. The top ten highest-paid NFL athletes are all quarterbacks – the biggest salaries going to Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons who makes an average of $30 million per season plus $5 million in endorsements and Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings who makes $28 million per season plus about $1 to $1.5 million in endorsements.

(For a complete list of the NFL’s top ten highest players, check out our in-depth article on all ten of those athletic millionaires.)

The NBA has minimum and maximum salary levels established.

The minimum salary figures are based on the years of NBA experience a player has. A rookie can expect to be paid at least $838,464 per season, and in their second year that jumps to $1,349,383. The minimum salary for a player with five years in the NBA is $1,757,429, and for 10+ years it’s $2,393,887.

Maximum salary levels in the NBA change depending on if you re-sign with a team or go elsewhere.

For instance, a player re-signing with his own team for the 2018-19 NBA season with 6 years or less of experience can’t make more than $25,467,250. With 7-9 years in the NBA, the most a player can make is $30,560,700 per season. With 10+ years in the league, the most they can make is $35,654,150. They can expect an 8% annual raise for up to five years.

For players signing with a new team, the maximums start the same but only raise by 5% yearly up to four years.

The highest-paid NBA athletes in 2018 make more considerably more than their NFL counterparts, especially when you consider their endorsements.

LeBron James, who now plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, will make a salary of $33.5 million, but when you add his $52 million worth of endorsement deals, his yearly total will be $85.5 million.

Runner up in the NBA salary department is Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who will make $34.9 million in salary and $42 million in endorsements for a grand total of $76.9 million.

It actually comes down to basic math.

There are 32 NFL teams with 53-man rosters, so that’s 1,696 players getting a share of endorsements and league revenue.

In the NBA, there are 30 teams but each normally has 12-15 players on their roster, so there are only 450 total NBA players vying for endorsement deals.

Where it really makes a difference is with revenue sharing.

As a result of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), the NFL currently shares 48.5 percent of all league revenue with its players. In 2017, the NFL ownership kept just over $8 billion in revenue for themselves, while the players took just less than that.

Under the current labor contract, NBA players get about half of all league revenue before expenses. That means last season they shared roughly $3.7 billion.

But here is where the NBA has an advantage over the NFL.

There are a whole lot more football players than basketball players, so each piece of the NFL revenue pie will always be smaller than the NBA slice.

League revenues are split between 1,696 total players in the NFL while in the NBA it’s only split between 450 players.

$8 billion / 1,696 = $4.717 million per NFL player.

$3.7 billion / 450 = $8.222 million per NBA player.

There’s no doubt NFL viewership is going down according to Austin Karp of the Sports Business Daily.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football, ESPN’s Monday Night Football and the shared Thursday Night Football package (between NBC, CBS, NFL Network and Amazon) all declined in viewership for the second straight season.

The raw numbers (avg. viewership):

NBC’s Sunday Night Football 2017: 18.175 million 2016: 20.323 million 2015: 22.522 million

ESPN’s Monday Night Football 2017: 10.757 million 2016: 11.390 million 2015: 12.896 million

Thursday Night Football (NBC/CBS/NFL Network) 2017: 10.937 million 2016: 12.438 million 2015: 12.425 million

So how do those declining NFL viewership numbers compare to the NBA?

It’s not even close.

According to Variety, the NBA’s average television viewership rose to a four-year high in 2017-2018. The Nielson-measured average total viewers for national telecasts of NBA games was up 8% from the 2016-17 season at 1.28 million. And that’s across the league’s four television-network partners — ABC, ESPN, NBA TV, TNT — and the highest average since the NBA’s 2013-14 season.

In other words, for right now, the NFL has nothing to worry about, but given the downward trend of NFL numbers and the upward surge of NBA viewers, that may not always be the case.

AIS Trivedi
Answer # 2 #

But even though it is somewhat difficult to claim one league is better, the NFL still seems to be the bigger league, especially considering various financial and viewer-based measures. After all, it is said, baseball is America's pastime, but football is America's game. Does this mean that one is better than the other? This would be a question of opinion. Join us as we discuss some of these NBA vs NFL ratings, salaries, and much more.

The National Basketball Association has 30 teams, including one from Canada, Toronto Raptors, and 29 from the United States. After the NFL and the MLB, it is the third-richest professional sports league in North America. After the league's regular season, the NBA playoffs are played to decide the champion.

The NBA is different; the NFL is America's sport, but basketball is rising to the top three sports globally in terms of viewership, making it more widely accessible than football globally but maybe not in the US.

The National Football League, which consists of 32 teams, is the world's top rank of American football. These teams are split evenly between the American Football Conference, AFC, and the National Football Conference, NFC.

Being one of North America's top professional sports leagues, the NFL is very popular in the United States. People also enjoy playing at real money online casinos in Canada. By revenue, it is also the most prosperous professional sports league.

One may argue that popularity is a valuable indicator of whether something is better than the other. Generally, something is a better choice if more people prefer it over the alternative. Regarding the two associations, we may compare which sport has more viewership. In terms of viewership, the football league reigns supreme, and it's not even close. For instance, it accounted for a stunning 75 of the top 100 most viewed TV broadcasts of 2021.

However, the NBA has recently seen a surge in popularity, and the playoffs are a significant source of revenue for the league. In four games, the basketball association defeated the Cavaliers in 2017. The NFL still maintains a vast 52% edge over the basketball association, but thanks to the latter's recent growth surge, the gap has been cut in half. Naturally, the NBA's sponsors would benefit financially from this.

Despite this, football league players earn more money than basketball players. The national football league players make roughly twice as much on average $14 million as basketball players. In addition, the league spends almost twice as much on the players to draw larger television audiences and increase income.

Since the football league roster is far more extensive than the other, it must further diversify their compensation structure. The NBA only has 15, compared to the 53 players on an NFL squad. Well, if there is a discussion about NBA vs NFL's best players, the following two ought to be mentioned: NBA's Nikola Jokic and NFL's Patrick Mahomes.

Nikola Jokic tops the NBA with a deal valued at $270 million, while Patrick Mahomes has the richest current contract in the NFL at $450 million. However, Jokic's contract lasts five years, while Mahomes' is ten years.

If Jokic and Mahomes had contracts of the same duration, Jokic would earn nearly $90 million more than Mahomes. Only 8 NFL players make more than $40 million a season, compared to 18 NBA players, and so are their net worth. Besides, when comparing the two current earnings, the football league earns $11 billion while the other earns $10 billion.

Due to more viewers, the NFL earns more money. Of course, you might blame the NBA's increased scheduled games on more income and viewers, but fans still find it impressive. Keep in mind that even though, at the end of the day, NBA players may earn more, it is not due to a disparity in viewership or income but the roster size.

One of the world's largest and most successful sports leagues is the football league, and the other is basketball. With some basketball players receiving contracts worth more than $200 million in recent seasons, both leagues have experienced a significant rise in salary and total agreements in recent years. Additionally, the football league has a bigger wage cap than the basketball association, although this does not necessarily translate into higher player salaries.

Currently, the top packages provided by the two leagues have several characteristics. Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs makes around $45 million, thus making him the highest-paid player in the NFL as of 2022. He is the only player who will make at least $40 million next season, with Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills and Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys coming in second and third, respectively.

There are many more football players than basketball players, so each piece of the NFL revenue pie will always be smaller than the NBA slice. Needless to say, in the NFL league, revenues are split between 1,696 total players, while in the NBA, between 450 players.

The total revenue is often estimated to be $8 billion. However, divided among 1,696 players means that each NFL player receives $4.717 million yearly, while an NBA player receives $17.8 million given the same revenue.

Just by looking at the NBA vs NFL data, it is clear that the NFL is more significant than the NBA. However, as the NBA continues to advance, the NFL's crown may come under some pressure. Undoubtedly, the NBA is catching up to the NFL. Nevertheless, basketball is a sport that is played much more widely, and the NBA has top-tier athletes from nations like Australia, France, and Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Who is Holly Sonders? Golf, boyfriend, age, family, net worth has recently published an article about the golfer, model, and TV host Holly Sonders. The golf diva began her career in golf and extended her beauty in front of the microphone.

Shantarin Dhanashekharan
Answer # 3 #

You have me pegged correctly.  I like football well enough.  Having the pro game play out mostly on Sunday inhibits my ability to watch, so I don't really follow except on the most obvious occasions (Superbowl, occasional MNF game).  I appreciate what I'm able to see but it's not like basketball.  I find hoops more fluid, more beautiful.  Plus the action is closer to continuous than you find in the NFL.  Football is one play followed by six replays, repeated for three hours.  I get mad at NBA television directors when they show the reaction shot of a player who just made a goal because we're missing the next play.

I'm not arguing that one sport is superior to the other.  I'm claiming there shouldn't be such a popularity disparity between the two in our culture, at least not in my eyes.

I'm not sure I can name all the reasons this is true, but thinking over your question brought up several possibilities:

1.  Schedule

NBA teams have several games per week.  Unless they play Sunday and then Thursday night, NFL teams have one.  You know when it is months in advance.  You know who the opponent will be.  It's an event.  Once it's done you can return to the rest of your life, not getting interrupted again until next week.  It appears to be the perfect mix of convenience and anticipation.

Weekly scheduling also allows for easy, regular communal rituals like tailgating, Fantasy Football, and (let's face it) even drinking.  Life is...uncomplicated.  You show up on Sunday afternoon to eat together. You have all your fantasy stats at the end of the day and you have a whole week to plan your next moves before anything changes again.  If you get drunk at a basketball game the whole thing becomes a blur.  Don't worry about getting blasted at the NFL game, though.  They're going to show the damn play five more times on the big screen.  You'd have to be unconscious not to get it.  And hey, it's only one day a week.  Inebriation once a weekend is good fun in our culture.  Inebriation 4 games in 5 nights on a road trip is a problem, eh?

2.  You Can Still Root for the Names on the Front of the Jersey

Parity alone doesn't explain popularity.  Sometime parity just means everybody sucks.  Superteams, marquee franchises, help drive sports leagues.  But even with a couple of superteams in the league, your average NFL team's name will mean something year-to-year.  That's not as true in the NBA.

NFL teams play an unbalanced schedule, where weaker teams from the year prior get weaker opponents, allowing radical jumps in the standings.  Teams go from worst to first in NFL divisions every season.  How often does that happen in basketball?

The NFL shows off stars--particularly quarterbacks--but with 53 guys on the roster and separate offenses and defenses, teams are less dependent on the fortunes and quirks of a single player than are NBA teams.  Your average NBA team is hostage to the best player in the lineup.  If you don't have the right name on the back of the jersey, the name on the front is going to suck.  The NBA trend of marketing individuals over teams, highlight clips over plays, has exacerbated this issue in the minds of the casual viewer.

Example:  One of the key questions looming over the next season or two for the Portland Trail Blazers is the status of LaMarcus Aldridge.  Remove him from the lineup and there's no comparison; Portland is a radically different team with him than without.  This is also true of, say, Peyton Manning and the Broncos, but because of the wider base of talent and positions in the NFL, Bronco fans would still have something even if Peyton was traded.  Not only would they have the core of a team intact, they'd also get good players at other positions in return.  Failing that, they'd get a first-round draft pick in a league where those matter beyond the first 3-4 selections.  The difficulty of getting value for a star in trade are well-chronicled in the NBA.  Lose LaMarcus and the Blazers will all but start over.

If the star player doesn't work for you in basketball--whether it's bad fit, not talented enough, you just don't like/believe in him as a fan, or he just decides to leave in free agency--the name on the front of the jersey almost doesn't matter anymore.  You might as well be one of a dozen other indistinct-but-struggling teams.   Your NBA fan experience boils down to the performance--and sometimes the whim--of a single player.  That's harder to build sustained momentum behind than the good old Steelers or Bengals names.

3.  The NFL Does Rivalries Better

Speaking of Steelers and Bengals, Cowboys and Redskins, Jets and Patriots, Chiefs and Raiders...nothing peaks interest like a rivalry.  Other than Knicks-Heat or Celtics-Heat, does the NBA even have a modern rivalry anymore?  And will even those rivalries endure after the principal players have changed?

Who are the rivals for the Blazers or Timberwolves?  Someone will say, "The Lakers!" but the Lakers are rivals of everyone.  There's nothing unique or deep about it.  Who's going to tune in nationally to see the hot-blooded Blazers-Lakers feud?  Nobody outside of Portland even thinks there is one...including folks in L.A.

Rivalries help bring character and identity to non-marquee franchises.  The Blazers and Jazz could play each other 92 times and still not develop any in the process.  The NFL runs circles around the NBA in this category.

4.  "The NBA is Too Black"

I apologize to our African-American readers and/or anybody offended by the less-acceptable "Black" in the title, but I phrased it that way because I suspect it reflects the sentiment the broader culture carries.  Admittedly folks couch that sentiment in other terms, talking about visible cultural markers like music and fashion, but it boils down to the same thing.

To be absolutely clear: I perceive this as a problem with America's culture in general, not with African-American culture.  Also I confess I am not an expert on this subject and I know the dangers of playing armchair sociologist.  Nevertheless, I still feel something should be said here even if I end up saying it poorly.

America has accepted tacitly for years that Caucasians are a minority in professional sports.  White athletes are marketed more prominently than their African-American counterparts (Quick!  Name 4 NFL players off the top of your head!) but glitz and hype can't cover the fact that professional sports rosters are heavily populated with ethnic minorities.

Athletes in the other two major American sports wear body-length uniforms with some kind of head covering.  You can tell the ethnicity of a given athlete, of course, but NFL players are 98% uniform and 2% skin.  MLB is not that far behind with visor-heavy headgear, gloves, and equipment.

NBA players are out there for the world to see.  They're essentially playing in over-sized underwear.  You can't mistake it.  These guys are African-American.

The NBA became a major media phenomenon on the backs of three players:  Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan.  All three were marketed in alignment with the predominant culture.  Bird was white and had an easy in.  But what do you remember of Magic and Jordan?  Magic presented a broad, smiling face whenever the cameras rolled.  Michael rose to pop culture fame on the back of a Gatorade jingle.  I am not suggesting that either image was inauthentic, let alone outside the circle of African-American culture.  Both men were, and are, African-American.  But any parts of their make-up that went beyond their commercially-appealing image did not make the national airwaves.  Spike Lee movies aside, we were still in the era where the commercial face of "African-American" didn't scan as different, an era where racial equality meant saying, "Hey...we're all the same (meaning in accordance with the dominant culture) after all."  Sometimes I dream...that he is me...

As our culture moved forward into a new millennium so did our understanding, and expression, of culture.  Jordan's jingles gave way to hip-hop, varying hairstyles and clothing styles, and ever-more-prominent tattoos.  Racial sensibility changed from "we're all the same" to, "No, I'm different.  Respect that."

Some folks have gotten on board with that.  Some folks have embraced it.  Others see it as a threat.  A substantial portion of the population seems to fall into the category of, "That's all fine, but I don't want to be bothered with it in my entertainment choices.  I'm just here to enjoy.  Don't disturb my narrative.  Let me watch my movie or listen to my radio or watch my team in peace without having to deal with you being different."  In the face of that impulse we have:

NFL?  98% uniform coverage.  Most of the public figureheads and guys interviewed on TV are coaches or white players.  No problem at all.  Go Packers!!!

MLB?  90% uniform coverage.  Organs playing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the stretch.  Nothing much is going to change here.

NBA?  Tattoos!  Hairstyles!  Hip-hop culture everywhere!  What happened?  Why do they do that?

When people find out that I write about the league they often talk about their perceptions of it.  One oft-repeated story runs, "I used to like pro basketball back when played but nowadays it's all selfish play, loud music, etc. ."   Though it reads racist, that's not the intent.  I would wager that to a person, they'd say that they support racial tolerance even if they're uncomfortable with some of its manifestations.  Rather they're reacting to the NBA the same way they react to turning on their comfortable FM popular music station and finding rap getting airplay.  "Augh!  What's that? Where are the Eagles and The Temptations?"   Even if they think racial tolerance is an important goal, folks just aren't comfortable disrupting their "private" entertainment choices for it, or even having the two concepts mix much.

Hardcore NBA fans probably weren't fazed by the league's public cultural shift...embraced it even.  (Although...hmmm.  We did have that dress code thing a few years ago.)  But if you're talking widespread popularity you're talking about casual fans.  I suspect for many casual fans race--or the cultural manifestation thereof--remains a subtle bar to their participation.  Even if the barrier isn't high, water flows along the path of least resistance.  It's easier for folks to explain why they're watching Cowboys-Eagles this weekend than it is for them to face the grimace and the comments about cornrows as they explain they're watching Sixers-Bulls tonight.

Again, I perceive this as an issue with American culture, not with African-American culture or any subset (or stereotype) thereof.  Cultures aren't monolithic, nor are they all-encompassing.  We have problems in America when the fringes of one culture intersect with the fringes of another.  We draw camps, push apart.  Our choices narrow to fight, ignore, or abandon the field.  For better or worse, the NBA has found itself in that fringe territory.  Some folks have fought; others have ignored.  The salient point for our discussion is that many have just abandoned the field, leaving unfair labels and over-generalizations in their wake.  This is a challenge the NFL hasn't had to face in the same way.

5.  The NBA is Too Fake

Sports are entertainment.  Every league makes choices that balance the tradition/integrity of the sport with its entertainment value to the public.  Of the three major U.S. sports leagues, the NBA is perceived as the most willing to sacrifice integrity to attract viewers...and this in a race with Major League Baseball and its full-fledged, home-run heavy steroid era.

Every league is accused of having bad referees.  No league is suspected of actually cooking the books, using refs to obtain desired outcomes for favored teams, like the NBA is.

Every league has star players, marketed and protected.  No league markets its superstars more heavily, depending on them so much.  No league is accused of having such a strong "star system" in place where the rules actually bend for favored players.  I say "accused", but is it even a question anymore?  Don't most people just accept that superstars will get calls that other players will not?

Every league has marquee matchups.  No league bows to those matchups more than the NBA, particularly in their playoff coverage.  If the best basketball is being played between Milwaukee and Cleveland but the Lakers and Mavericks are on the air, most of America won't know that Milwaukee and Cleveland exist.  Who cares if the play is second-rate as long as the right names appear in the TV Guide?

The instant the NBA instituted a lottery they were accused of fixing it.

David Stern is spoken of as a history-making Commissioner and a really smart guy.  He's also painted as the master manipulator willing to bend any kind of rule in order to achieve his desired outcome...Vince McMahon in a legitimate sport.

Each of these points contains veracity and falsehood.  Those are less important than the fact that nothing I just said was a surprise to you.  These perceptions are common knowledge, attached irrevocably to the NBA name.  It's sports.  It's entertainment.  Which will predominate?  Honestly, people aren't always sure.

Plenty of institutions walk the line between reality and show.  Most of television qualifies nowadays, including the news.  But that line brings with in an inherent transience.  Institutions with substance get passed on from generation to generation.  It doesn't matter how much actual integrity the institution has as long as it can be called integral.  "Our family is Republican," or, "We've farmed this land for four generations," or, "We drive Chevy Trucks" can all form solid roots for a family tree.  But entertainment never gets passed on from generation to generation.  How many children listen to their dad's music or watch their mom's TV shows and say, "This is the best thing ever and I will adopt it for my own, forever"?

To the extent an NBA franchise is whole, integral, attached to something permanent that you can trust, it can be passed on.  "The Trail Blazers are God's team, son.  The Lakers are pure evil."  It doesn't matter if those statements are empirically true.  If the league structure around those two teams remains sound and they continue to compete in fair fashion we are free to build our own meaning into the exercise and make it mean more than it otherwise would have.  As soon as that integrity fails, so does our ability to build on it and pass it on.  "Things are kind of rigged here to favor certain teams but I grew up watching the Trail Blazers, son, and it's a fun game to watch anyway!"  That's not going to transfer to the next generation.

The WWE got enormously popular in the late 1990's and early 2000's, right around the same time the curtain got pulled back and the "entertainment" aspect of it was revealed.  That revelation didn't hurt the generation that first heard it.  But what about their children?  Are they following WWE or have they moved to MMA or something else entirely?

The NBA's huge popular culture boom happened in the mid-80's with Magic-Bird through the 90's with Jordan.  The Celtics-Lakers era was considered sport, but even then you had the 1985 Ewing lottery and whispers that the league was edging towards big-market favoritism.  The Jordan era got a little more shady with push-offs and traveling but still remained on the sport side of the line.  Then you got Shaq's flying elbows, the 2002 Western Conference Finals, the desperate search for the "Next Jordan" and the heavy marketing of players and teams who didn't deserve it.  All of a sudden everybody talked about Stern and refs and fixing results.  Entertainment appeared to edge out sport and integrity.

No matter what rumors started swirling, everybody knew Mike in the 90's.  That whole generation stuck with it.  But again, what about their children?  Are they following the NBA or have they moved to the NFL or something else entirely?

Shibbu Bohra