Wednesday, January 2, 2008

NHL > NBA

We normally do a link dump in support of various Pittsburgh blogs, but I'll toss this one out there today because of its relevance to an indisputable truth I realized yesterday. Pierogies n'at sent us an article about why Pittsburgh shouldn't have an NBA team. My first thought was to play devil's advocate as I have in the past. But of course then you get into numbers, and populations, and markets, and the whole debate just gets pointless when few people (read: no one) wants an NBA team. And I'm fine with that.

One point that is constantly brought up about the NBA is that the regular season "doesn't matter" or that the players don't try. Such a fact is disputable to a degree, but if you listen to NBA talking heads that are in-the-know (Bucher, Stein, et al.), they often say how Jermaine O'Neal or so-and-so has been mailing it in recently. Which brings me to the aforementioned indisputable truth: the NHL has a remarkably better product than the NBA. The NBA mght market itself better, and it definitely has bigger stars. But when you consider the actual product/sport/whatever you want to call it that takes place on the floor night in and night out, I can't possibly fathom someone saying that your average NBA game is more entertaining than your average NHL game.

While the circumstances were more epic than normal yesterday, the Pens-Sabres game was a perfect example of how intense the NHL regular season is, as opposed to just the playoffs. Whereas NBA stars are annointed in high school, given guaranteed contracts, and then often get lucrative endorsements, your average NHLer "always leaves the rink knowing he just earned his paycheck", as one former player told me as a kid. The paycheck might be smaller than that of an NBA star, but I wonder to what extent a smaller pool of money makes the play more competitive (as opposed to the stupidly lucrative NBA contracts). Whatever the reason may be, as someone that has watched a good deal of NHL and NBA games from a (relatively) unbiased perspective, it is easy for me to say that the NHL has clawed back to the point where they have a better product than the NBA. Definitively. Now they just have to figure out how to market it.

On a unrelated note, glad to see that ThePensBlog guys and Seth from Empty Netters made it back safely. I heard horror stories about the drive from friends and I can only imagine what it was like. And Seth, great work on Junker and Crow - I did a double take when they said who was coming on. Nice job buddy. Sorry about the license plate.
End of Post

1 comment:

Seth Rorabaugh said...

Thanks Pat. I thought I did a half-way decent job for being half-asleep and having a scratchy throat.

The drive back was nothing short of a nightmare. Crusing along i-90 was at 20 MPH was different. And going the whole way without a plate was scary.

All-in-all it was a wonderful experience.