We hear it all the time. “The NBA is too soft now.” But is it true? The NBA has become more about drama than basketball. The biggest headlines of the NBA this year have been about KD vs. Westbrook, LeBron vs. Charles Barkley, and Javale McGee vs Shaq.
Analysts show more focus on off the court drama than highlights and critiques. NBA journalists may be doing a better job of instigating than reporting.
Kevin Durant may agree. “They’re trying to get in between this thing and make it bigger than what it is,” he said during an interview with Mark Stein of ESPN.
“It’s that easy for the media to twist something up and for the media to make a feud between us.”
“They took it to a level that it should’ve never got to.” Chauncey Billups said about the beef between Westbrook and KD.
The media is doing a great job of creating drama, especially TNT’s “Inside the NBA” program. Earlier this year, LeBron James stated that Cleveland Cavaliers needed more help. Charles Barkley responded by calling his comments ‘whiny’.
“These wild, punk ass reporters on television [are] afraid to call out LeBron. LeBron’s a great player and a great guy. He’s got to have all the great players on his team. He’s got Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. He want everybody? He don’t want to compete?” Barkley questioned.
LeBron responded, “I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that. I’m not the one who threw somebody through a window. I never spit on a kid. I never had unpaid debt in Las Vegas. I never said, ‘I’m not a role model.’ I never showed up to All-Star Weekend on Sunday because I was in Vegas all weekend partying. All I’ve done for my entire career is represent the NBA the right way. Fourteen years, never got in trouble. Respected the game. Print that.”
The back and fourth controversy between LeBron James and Charles Barkely created enough content for sports programs, news, and radio shows for weeks. Many believe that “Inside the NBA” members, especially Shaq and Charles, intentionally provoke players to get a news-worthy response.
Kevin Durant certainly agrees.
“That’s what they want from these stars and retired players is to feud with the guys that are playing now and make arguments and disagreements,” he said in a press conference defending his teammate Javale McGee.
Shaquille O’Neal’s recent antics have him at the forefront of NBA drama. For years Shaq has crowned Javale McGee the MVP of his segment “Shaqtin’ a Fool” where he makes fun of players for their bloopers on the court. Javale has unarguably been having the best season of his career with the Golden State Warriors, so many wonder why Shaq is still poking fun at Javale.
Shaq played this clip of McGee which got him under fire (maybe: Shaq is under fire for airing this clip of McGee)
The clip was a humorous reenactment of Doctor Strange showcasing some of Javale’s worst moments from past seasons. Following the clip, the Warriors’ center took to Twitter.
Javale McGee has repeatedly asked Shaq to stop and has criticized Shaq for being a coon. Shaq claims Warriors’ forward Draymond Green has also told Shaq to ease up on the Javale McGee content.
“It’s like it never ends. It’s one thing to have a little fun but I think you can a little bit over the top,” Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr explained to reporters.
KD went on to criticize Shaq, who is a reserve police officer in South Florida, for making threats of violence towards Javale McGee.
Shannon Sharpe of Fox Sport’s “Undisputed” feels that Shaq crossed the line with the last Doctor Strange clip. He also believes TNT is equally responsible as they helped produce and approved of the behavior for television.
Your job is on an analyst show not America’s Funniest Home Videos. So what does you showing videos of this guy’s bloopers have to do with critiquing his play?” A sharp point made by Sharpe. He also called for African Americans to stop going at each other, to let everybody be great, and to get rid of the crab-in-a-barrel mentality.
Others have claimed Shaq’s recent behavior is a form of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a serious issue and has caused loss of life through suicide in our digital age. Some, including Javale’s mother, are calling for Shaq to lose his job.
After the Warriors organization contacted TNT, Shaq agreed to ease up on the content.
All in all, real NBA fans would like to see more basketball and less drama.