Tha Sports Junkies 101

What Makes NBA Fans So Fanatical?

NBA Fans, Jordan, LeBron, Bird, Magic, NBA, Fans, Shingo10/via Flickr


What Makes NBA Fans So Fanatical?

“My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”

~ Michael Jordan

I remember setting my VCR before I left the house just so I could re watch this hero of mine over and over.  I remember seeing him glide through the air and almost elevate one more time before starting his descent to the basket.  Michael Jordan seemed to do something in every game that no one had ever seen before.  To me he was much more than a basketball player.

“I think he’s God disguised as Michael Jordan.”
-Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird, after beating the Bulls in a 1986 Eastern Conference first-round playoff game that ended in 2OT, a game in which Jordan had scored 63 points.

If Larry Legend viewed him this way then imagine how a young kid like me pictured him.  On my wall in my bedroom I even had a life-sized poster of him to measure myself by.  I was lucky enough to have grown up in an era of NBA where each and every night it was kill or be killed.  There was a star on every team.  Magic & Kareem on the Lakers, Bird on the Celtics,  Jordan on the Bulls, Ewing on the Knicks, Barkley on the 76’ers & Akeem Olajuwon on the Rockets.  The list is much longer, but you get the point.


What’s the point?

The point I am trying to make is that for a guy who grew up during an era of basketball like that, it can be hard to appreciate the talent you see in the NBA today.  This is what brought me to write this article.  Today in the NBA we have a wealth of stats to tell us who is the best in the game.  It seems as if every year someone comes up with a new form of statistical analysis for us to sort out where each player ranks on our dream Top 10 all-time player list.

I don’t want you to misunderstand what I am saying in this article.  I am in no way taking anything away from today’s players or today’s game, but it can be hard to grasp all the stats you hear on a day-to-day basis.  It can be hard to hear the everyday comparisons on each top player in the league.  I have my views on who the greatest player of all time is, and many would disagree with me.


NBA Debates

If you get on Twitter these days and get involved in an NBA discussion, you will more than likely find yourself in the middle of a heated debate.  It seems that the NBA has more things to debate than any other sport .  Some of the common debates you will find is:

-Who is better Russell Westbrook or James Harden?

-Top 5 Point Guards in the game?

-Can Porzingas call the Knicks his team?

-LeBron- G.O.A.T. or not?

-Where does Kobe Bryant’s Legacy rank all-time?

-Is Michael Jordan the greatest ever?


The Twitter Universe Explodes

The list could go on and on, but for now I just want to discuss what I have found about NBA fans that is different from all the other sports.  No other sport can spark such anger and passion with one simple tweet like an NBA tweet can.  The other day after the Christmas Day games I came up with a tweet that I knew would prove my point and prove it rather easily.  I happen to be one of those people who doesn’t mind the hate being thrown my way, in fact I guess I kind of enjoy it.  I knew that there was one person in the NBA that I could say something negative about that would make the NBA Twitter folks lose it.  Here is my Tweet:

I know that for any of you that understands the NBA at all you will realize that this is beyond absurd.  However, I knew that it would draw some heat based on the fact that Kyrie Irving had just pulled off his second big game winning shot against the Golden State Warriors.  What happened next was what I had hoped for and so much more.  People didn’t just dismiss this as some silly Tweet from a guy that didn’t know what he was talking about, instead they felt obligated to let me know I was an idiot, I should kill myself, I needed to delete my account and some had to try to explain to me why I was wrong and why I should never speak on anything NBA related again.  I know some people may be thinking that if I had said something this absurd about any other sport that I would get the same response.  Actually that is not true at all.  I tried it with other sports and found that most people didn’t even acknowledge the tweet at all.


What Makes us Fanatical?

Now just so I am clear, I am not writing this to degrade NBA fans in any way.  I am actually writing it to point out that the NBA has some down right passionate fans.  I almost compare NBA fans to people and how they reacted during the election cycle for POTUS.  Just like those that have die-hard political views, NBA fans have unchangeable beliefs when it comes to their favorite teams or players, and they do not hesitate to share them with you.  So why is this exactly?  Why do people get so crazy about someone thinking that LeBron couldn’t carry Jordan’s jock strap, or that Larry Bird was a better shooter than Steph Curry will ever be?

The answer is simple. They love the game.  The one thing about basketball is that it is still the same game that it was many years ago really.  Sure it’s changed a little with things like the 3-pt shot or the shot clock, but it is still about putting a round ball in a hoop that stands 10 feet high.  I have realized that debating who is the greatest player of all-time is a pointless venture.  Calling LeBron James an all-time great does not diminish anything the legends of old were able to accomplish.  In fact it strengthens the argument for how great they were.  We see flashes of Jordan in Kobe Bryant and a hint of Karl Malone in LeBron James.  Every player that comes along is being watched by some kid out there like I did Michael Jordan.  Just like I had to accept that today’s NBA now has some of the greatest players ever, some kid will have to listen to how the new guy is better than LeBron James.

This is what makes the NBA so special, no matter who we think the G.O.A.T. is, there is some kid out there waiting to take their place.

So remember that no matter how much we want them too and no matter how much we cling to them, they just can’t live forever.

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