In response to my blog yesterday about the NBA one of my friends brought up a very interesting point. He said his disinterest in the NBA wasn't so much about talent as it was about the inability of teams to stay together. Teams are built to win today, not tomorrow or the next day. Free agency and blockbuster trades make it difficult for fans to connect with a franchise when they know it won't look the same in 2 or 3 years. I would have to agree.
Gone are the days of the great rivalries and dynasties. Teams don't stay intact long enough to develop bad blood and player movement makes it impossible to sustain greatness. Rivalries and dynasties are what makes sports so compelling. Without that element the fans aren't emotionally invested and the game takes a different meaning. It becomes trendy as opposed to passionate.
The business aspect of sports has made sports more entertaining, but less intense. There is no loyalty from the players or the owners. They are opportunists looking to cash in on their success as quickly as possible. It's a selfish approach, but very lucrative.
This is why players of today are not as beloved as players of the past. Larry Bird was a great Boston Celtic. Isaiah Thomas was a great Detroit Piston. Michael Jordan was a great Chicago Bull. Lebron James is a great player. Chris Paul is a great point guard. Carmelo Anthony is a great scorer. Dwight Howard is a great shot blocker. There's no association with any one particular franchise, only basketball ability.
I understand my friend's point but it's a new day. The alpha dogs and franchise players have been replaced with hired guns and PR campaigns. It's hard to embrace the product on the floor when you're used to something much better, but just like hip-hop you have to work with what you have. This is what sports in 2012 looks like.