The ongoing paradox about the National Basketball Association's annual All-Star Game is that defense is considered offensive. That's why the final score of the Sunday, Feb. 17, spectacle (TNT, 5:30 p.m.) may resemble the Obama-Clinton delegate count.
Here and elsewhere, the predicament facing the NBA and its gradually failing franchises ought to underscore (if such a term is even appropriate for an NBA all-star game) the desperation and absurdity of staging a weekend of "nothing's-wrong-here" frivolity. This would be the case even if it weren't all happening in, of all places, New Orleans.
For a deeper look at the league's woes, go to Bob Cook's piece this weekend at MSNBC.com. Cook proceeds with observations about how odd it is for the NBA to be showcasing itself in New Orleans, which probably won't even keep its franchise beyond next season. Acknowledging that there may be those with better things to do than think about the NBA, some may at least want to read the following from Cook:Even accounting for the fact that attendance goes up after the All-Star break, the decline of the league in many cities this season has been swift. In 2006-07, Memphis was at the bottom of the NBA with an average of 14,654 fans per game. This season, eight teams are below that mark – in descending order, Charlotte, Minnesota, Sacramento, Seattle, Philadelphia, Memphis, New Orleans, and Indiana. Minnesota is down 1,500 fans per game. Memphis and Seattle are down 2,000. Indiana is down 3,000. Sacramento is down nearly 4,000. On average, at least one out of every three seats at a Sixers home game is empty.
The remaining fans of the Seattle SuperSonics will have little to cheer now that the NBA-weekend junior-varsity game has been played. Frosh phenom Kevin Durant carried the Sonics banner Friday, Feb. 15, scoring 23 as elite league newcomers lost 136-109 to a team composed of sophomore players. The latter included former Husky forward Brandon Roy. The Portland Trail Blazer mainstay, along with former Sonic Ray Allen (now with Boston), may provide hoop 'n' Soop enthusiasts with root-for fodder during the Sunday broadcast, devoid of any Sonics players.