Improving the NBA Viewing Experience

Here are two things I think the NBA can do better:

1. Let fast breaks play out from the natural TV camera angle. This is a major pet peeve of mine. There is nothing worse than when you are about to watch Blake Griffin uncork a vicious slam from the nice, familiar, side camera angle, when out of nowhere the producer switches cameras on you. All of a sudden you are thinking “Why I am I watching this great dunk unfold as if I am sitting in the lap of a sweaty baseline cameraman?” or “Hold on, why would I ever want to look through the backboard?*”

I am not opposed to seeing different angles of a cool play. Show any view you want during a replay.** That’s what they are for, and no one is denying their awesomeness. Just don’t mess up the flow in real-time.

I don’t get what the motivation is to tinker with something that has worked fine for years. It’s like if the Kentucky Derby was coming down to the wire and for the final straightaway they cut to a guy filming from ground level. All you see is a bunch of dust and a couple brown blurs. There is an executive somewhere watching it all and grinning, convinced he is the next Al Primo*** because he authorized this innovative ‘On the Ground Finish Cam.’ He’s thinking “it’s new and different, so it must be better, right?” NO. Not at all.

Maybe producers needs to start pretending that every breakaway features below the rim guys like David Wesley. Then there will be less incentive to catch the perfect angle for the monster dunk.

The camera switch is disconcerting. I want to appreciate the astonishing athleticism of these players, not imagine what it would be like if I was a toddler seated on the baseline who happened to swivel his huge, wobbly head around right as something great was about to happen.

2. Get rid of all arena music while the game is going on. I have been playing and watching basketball a long time, and I have never met a single person who likes hearing music while the game is taking place. I don’t need the arena DJ to artificially ramp up the intensity of a possession by steadily increasing the tempo of his obnoxious organ music. Not only do I not need it, I actively despise it for hampering my viewing experience.

The campy sounds make everything seem tacky and insignificant. It’s like I am watching a circus instead of a professional basketball game. As far as I know in-game music does not get blared across the stadium while a pitcher is in his windup, or while a quarterback is shouting out audibles, so what business does it have being played while a guy dribbles up court?

The NBA might need to focus group this one. Get a random sampling of fans and ask them to raise their hands if they agree with this statement: I think the experience of watching a live basketball game is enhanced by organ music that tells me when to chant “Defense!” The few who do indicate they enjoy the music should then be asked if they like car commercials, slow roller coasters, Danielle Steele novels, Wendy’s salads, and Tommy Bahama shirts.

Undoubtedly the same people will raise their hands for both prompts. The moderators will be forced to realize that those who like in-game artificial sounds are in fact the most easily entertained of all fans. These people don’t even really like the organ, they simply stomach it, kind of like the Wendy’s salads**** they shovel down their throats. The organ lovers would be more than satisfied if you took away the in-game sounds and added one extra guy spinning plates on his head at halftime. The OL’s need to be seen as a group that is smaller than imagined and one that should not be pandered to.*****

*Leave it to BU to be the only ones on youtube with the gall to not only show footage from this angle, but promote it as something interesting. And while we’re here, come on #21 on Marist! A simple box out at :10 and that lame video becomes even lamer. I’m not bitter that I lost to BU 4 straight years, I swear.

** There is an underappreciated aspect to that Vince Carter clip, and it’s the absolutely silly pass attempted by Frenchman Yann Bonato that leads to the dunk. I have been damn near beheaded for not using “fake a pass/make a pass” on a post entry, so I don’t know what would happen if I turned it over attempting a spinning, no look behind the back pass during an Olympic gold medal game. I bet there were some very unkind things said to Yann in the aftermath.

*** I spent 30 seconds googling “famous TV executives”, so excuse me if that reference makes no sense.

**** Never had one, hopefully they aren’t amazing.

***** I need to learn how to use footnotes.

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