Inside the NBA: A Double-Edged Sword in NBA Coverage

Inside the NBA has been a staple of nationally broadcast NBA games since well before I was born. The show has won multiple Emmy awards, is featured in NBA 2k, and brandishes a charisma that few on-air productions ascertain for a single season, let alone fifteen plus.

However, some aspects of Inside the NBA are not only bothersome, but detract from the on-court product of the league.

I understand that entertainment and profit will always be king. I also understand that not everyone is an NBA analyst or hardcore fan. There’s nothing wrong with casual viewership, contrary to how it’s often portrayed. Inside the NBA is fantastic at connecting with their audience.

Here’s my hold up: The NBA’s most watched and lauded “analysis” show, presents an often apathetic perspective on the league and players.

If Shaq “isn’t familiar,” with Christian Wood’s game after he exploded onto the scene in Detroit last scene, that’s a problem. Shouldn’t Inside the NBA be geared towards fostering long-term viewership and exposing the up and coming stars of the league?

If you played fantasy basketball last year and didn’t even watch the Detroit Pistons play, you were most likely aware of Wood’s ascension.

When Shaq and Charles Barkley, two of the greatest two ever do it, don’t give a shit, why is someone watching NBA basketball for the first time going to either?

This isn’t just a one off. The entire bit of Who He Play For? is headscratching in terms of league development. Again, if Shaq and Charles don’t even take the time to know who the 8th man on the Blazers is, why will casual fans?

I get that it’s funny and the importance of entertainment. But, entertainment centered around indifference to the NBA is just perpelexing.

The Inside crew also routinely mispronounces names of players; whether that’s by design for a quick laugh or again, indifference, I don’t care! Not only is it disrespectful and demeaning to the players, it’s played out and a tiresome gimmick.

How can you be an NBA analyst, and not know where an MVP candidate and one of the league’s brightest young stars is from?

Both this and the Christian Wood interview came in the same night!

Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkely have accomplished more in their lifetimes than I think most can even comprehend. But, that’s exactly why they should be the people to broaden the horizons of a casual fan and show them the really cool aspects of the league! I neither expect or want every person who watches the league to become a hardcore fan, that’s an unreasonable expectation. However, to really develop fan bases who love the game, enjoy the players, and keep coming back, it seems pretty clear to me that the most visible spokesmen on the NBA should be pioneering it’s development.

90% of Inside the NBA is great, funny, and charming. The remainder is why I mute TNT before tip off. I know I’m in the minority as someone who isn’t a fan of a team and rather just trying to observe the league and enjoy the game. This isn’t meant as some hit piece; there are far more meaningful and important things that go on in the world everyday and effect people. I just love basketball and it’s frustrating to continually see this indifference and detachment from the game and I hope it changes.

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