The NBA Finals – Too much of a show, or the ultimate Spectacle?

Here we are again.

The Golden State Warriors up 2-0 over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

Le Bron vs. Curry, and East vs. West.

So where does the NBA rank in terms of a sporting showcase? Are these giants of the sport, getting it done on the ultimate stage as good as it gets? Or is the hype of the NBA bigger than what actually occurs on the court?

Over-hyped and Over-rated

The whole essence of basketball is about flair. It is not just about the playing, you have got to look good doing it as well, in order to get the full respect of your peers.

Watching The Warriors come to the court would fit in at a boxing match. Seriously, they had the guy that shouts “LETS GET READY TO RUMBLE” before boxing matches, to shout “LETS GET READY TO RUMBLE” before the game.

All the fans have gold t-shirts on their seats, the players dance their way onto the court and giant flags are waved by scantly-clad cheerleaders to kick off proceedings. And then when it comes to the actual game, t-shirts are fired (by guys on Segways) into the crowds like confetti at any kind of timeout.

Is it not possible to support a team without being cringingly super-passionate? Can I not know everything about my team, and just enjoy the game? Instead of having the dance/kiss/high-5 camera force me out of my seat.

The reality is, that the big companies who are demanding that their sponsorship dollars are showcased want to see their brands actively broadcasted through ‘fan passion’. This misconceived term is now how sponsors measure the productivity of marketing.

There is no better example of this than basketball.

The Sports Blog is all for enhancing the fan experience, however the NBA could be taking it too far.

The Ultimate Spectacle

But come on… These guys are ridiculous!

Stephen Curry’s shooting action is one of the most natural phenomena in sport. His transition from the dribble to shooting is completely fluid, his – often no-look – passing distribution is exciting and is swag defined.

Not only has he changed basketball with his three point shooting, he has rejuvenated the game with his refreshing attitude.

The signing of Kevin Durant has proved to be the masterclass everyone predicted. The giant 6 ft. 9 former Oklahoma City player, is dictating the offense for the Warriors, scoring 38 in Game 1 and 33 in Game 2. Oh, and he is marking Le Bron James on defence.

These guys are incredible to watch. They score so often, you are genuinely shocked when they miss. Three pointers always seem to swish, passes always seem to connect and crossovers always seem to break opponent’s ankles.

The NBA Finals create such a platform to perform with all the pyrotechnics that it is hard not to be swept up in it.

Yes, it is incredibly in your face, but wow is it fun to watch.

The Final Word

Sports sponsorship, especially in the United States, is being defined by the over-used label of ‘passion.’ Fans must be seen to be the most passionate, the most entertained and the most knowledgable.

Fans who like watching their team, can be slightly alienated if they don’t get up to catch a t-shirt that is fired at them.

On the other hand, for the NBA Finals, the flair of basketball is intertwined with the showcase it creates. Fans tune in, because it is over the top, rather than in spite of it.

However, it is important that the NBA should be mindful not to take this too far.

 

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