While the 2013 NBA Playoffs have certainly been entertaining for the thousands of basketball fans across the world, I have found myself constantly turning away from the television during many a game.
Don't get me wrong; I have loved watching the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets race up and down the court and share the ball. I love how evenly matched and physical the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies are. And, I truly enjoyed watching the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs dismantle the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively.
But, every double foul, ridiculous flagrant and soft technical that these officials call makes me sick to my stomach. This isn't playoff basketball, it's kindergarten basketball.
The National Basketball Association is not a league where everyone deserves equal opportunity and fairness. One guy in a team's locker room can make $16 million and have a locker next to a guy who makes $85,000. But, the new NBA officiating rules have been created in order to forge a game where everyone can be safe, where a 6-3 shooter can fearlessly drive at a 7-1 behemoth because he knows he'll be protected by the refs.
Back in the day, that 7-1 gargantuan would put the scrawny guard on his butt for challenging him in his domain: the paint.
When you look at documentaries that show basketball from the '70s, '80s and '90s, the game has completely changed. The playoff series between the Knicks and Reggie Miller's Pacers could never happen in today's league. Larry Bird and Dr. J could never have gotten into fights in today's league. Guys like the bad boy Pistons, Bill Laimbeer, Kurt Rambis and Kevin McHale could never exist in today's league. And, it's a shame.
On top of all that, players and coaches get fined enormous sums when they justly criticize officials. Crunchology's in depth data visualizations on NBA fines show how much of an impact zebras have on the entire NBA -- not just the game, but players wallets, too. Usually people argue that referees don't control the outcome of basketball games and that players and coaches should stop complaining. However, when refs award teams two free throws for a flagrant foul and one free throw for a technical, they actually can have a legitimate impact on a game.
I will continue to watch the NBA playoffs and be invested in who is crowned the next world champion, but I will also continue to be peeved at this fake brand of officiating.