We’ve all seen it by now, Lance Stephenson blowing in LeBron James’ ear during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. It sounded ridiculous when I first heard it, but after thinking about it, I want so much more of this. In my opinion, as fans, when we see a guy like Lance Stephenson do something like this, it makes the league so much more entertaining.
I will admit, I am not a huge fan of the NBA. In general, I’m just a sports fanatic. I love basketball, I am always behind the Bulls and will cheer them on until the bitter end (the first round this season still stings), but I can’t say that the NBA is my favorite league; it’s not even close. In fact, I may even rank it as my least favorite based on the four major professional sports. That being said, watching a good NBA game can be a lot of fun and the last few years the playoffs have been amazing, and I still love the sport, as I previously mentioned. The NBA is missing something though, and Lance Stephenson is one guy who brings it to the league. We need some good characters, we need some weird guys; it makes everything more exciting.
Dennis Rodman, as weird of a guy as he is, was incredibly entertaining. You never knew what he was going to do next on the court (or in his personal life, for that matter). There is a reason that I love Chris “Birdman” Andersen, he’s ridiculous looking and he’s a wild man, I find it entertaining when he is in the game. Lance Stephenson dared to blow in a guy’s ear to try and get in his head. That’s just great to me. He was going to do anything to mess with a guy (whether it worked or not is up for debate, however). The league needs more of this! The NBA needs to have more players messing with their opponents, they need more players who will get nasty on the court.
I hate to sound like a “back in my day”-type, but it seems to me as though there is less rivalry between players on the court today, and I think that’s bad for the league. When the players hate each other it makes for better competition. So many players have known each other or even played with each other since their AAU days, and there is less animosity between players. I love the animosity though. I absolutely loved when Richard Sherman went off on Michael Crabtree. Player-on-player rivalries are some of the best in sports. Carlos Gomez and his feud with many players on the Atlanta Braves (if not the whole team) is great for baseball, it adds excitement and entertainment value. Less uniformity in attitudes and more characters who will get in your face is something that I would love to see more of in the NBA.
Does it make the game sloppier? Possibly. Does it take away focus from the actual skill? You could make that argument. But I’d much rather see pissed-off LeBron James drop 50 in the playoffs and yell at Lance Stephenson when he dunks over him than stoic LeBron drop 50 and have nobody show emotion on the floor. I’m hoping for more shenanigans from Lance Stephenson in Game 6. Blow in his ear again, maybe pull a JR Smith and untie his shoes, or how about just talking at him all game. Anything that will make me interested in the players and refrain from bemoaning the NBA and wishing that NFL training camp would start already.