A week or so back, ex-Blogger Matt asked me for a post regarding my contention that basketball is boring, but hockey is not. A few thoughts on this topic, which I should remind everyone, is not based on any factual research I’ve done. Just my opinion.
First off, hockey is a far more athletic game. It doesn’t mean basketball is not an athletic game, it’s just less athletic. Sure, burying a 3-pointer with a lanky 6’10 human quickly bearing down on you takes an athlete, but doing it on skates against a guy who is actually allowed to try and knock your head off takes more of an athlete.
Which leads me to my next point: hockey is less boring because there aren’t frigging fouls called every fifteen seconds. There’s an ebb-and-flow on the ice that makes it a far more exciting game to watch (and participate). Basketball just has too many whistles and it slows things down. Just last season, the NHL finally realized this after 10+ years of a subpar, sleepy product. The “new” NHL still has its problems, but the product last year was so obviously superb compared to any of the last 10 seasons. Now, if they could only get rid of ten teams I just might become the hardcore fan I was during my formative years.
Hockey has blistering slapshots and wristshots – and defenders who actually dive in front of them and/or largely insane goaltenders whose job it is to stop them. Basketball has…….shots. And yes, basketball has dunks, but the majority of those only come when the guy who has the ball has no defender in front of him. A dunk is largely an exhibition to show off a move. A slapshot (and some wrist shots!) is a 90mph-plus attempt to locate a puck into a very small open space, covered by a skilled defender. That is far more exciting to me.
There can be no doubt whatsoever that hockey is a faster game. Just go to one and you’ll really see the difference. I’m smart enough to admit that watching hockey on television will never deliver the product the way it should be delivered. For whatever reason, watching it on television just doesn’t do it a lick of justice and it never will. HD helps, but it doesn’t solve. Once the NHL realizes this, they’ll be better off. But anyone who tells you basketball is a fast game is not telling you the complete truth. Basketball has moments of speed, but the main ingredient of hockey IS speed.
Anyway, there’s probably more. My point is not that basketball sucks. It’s just that I can’t watch it because it lulls me to sleep. Even when the Celtics were winning in the 1980’s, I didn’t care because the games just didn’t excite me. I readily admit there’s a certain skill involved in playing hoops and that game is filled with tremendous athletes. I just can’t deal.