Who Dat?

Back in the 80s, long before the X-Games existed, Tom Haig traveled the world as an extreme athlete. He visited more than 50 countries as an international high diver, doing multiple somersault tricks from over 90 feet.

That life came crashing down one Sunday morning in 1996. While training on his mountain bike, he smashed into the grill of a truck and became paralyzed from the waist down. But less than a year later he completed a 100-mile ride on a hand-cycle and traveled by himself to Europe and the Middle East.

Since then he has continued to travel the world as a consultant, writer and video producer. He spent six months launching a Tibetan radio station in the Himalayas and shot documentary shorts on disability in Bangladesh, France, Albania, Ghana and most recently Nepal.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The New Awesome 72-game NBA Season

So, truth be told, I'm one of these idiots who listens to sports talk radio. I catch about 20 minutes in the afternoon while I'm in my car and go to bed listening to the PTI podcast. I usually catch the first 10 minutes of Sports Center as well as the plays-of-the-day if I can remember to flip back over.  If I'm suffering from insomnia, I'll pop on Dan Patrick or Mike and Mike until I flounder back to sleep. You would think I would put on music, but music is just too damn interesting and it actually keeps me awake.

The big topic this week has been how stupidly long and insignificant the NBA regular season is. You will get no disagreement from these quarters, but I actually have the solution to ALL their problems.

It's the weekend-only, 72-game schedule. And here's the catch - you play the same team all weekend long. The season is a collection of 24 three-game series. Throughout the year you play a home and away series against your division rivals, and the rest of the series are spread out over the rest of the league - much like the NFL schedule. You don't play every team every year, but neither do NFL teams and that certainly hasn't stopped it's popularity.

To insure that each game counts (big problem now as teams routinely throw games) the league is decided on a points basis. If you win one game, you get one point. If you win two games you get three points. If you sweep the series, you get five points.  At no point can you just throw in the towel and not send your full team (unless you are really trying to tank the season).

Back to back to back games are normally tough, but not in this scenario. The problem with back to back to back games now is that there is usually a nasty day (or 2!) of traveling late at night or getting off the plane and going right to the court. But in this scenario the number of travel days throughout the season drops from 82 to 24 (travel both to and from away games)! Players don't get tired playing, they get tired traveling. So even though there are 24 travel days, NONE of them are as stressful as any of the travel days they now face. In this scenario they can get into town the day before the series, then leave after the last game and have PLENTY of rest. When they have home series they sleep in their own bed for at least 12 straight days. With consecutive home series they don't have to travel for 20 days!

Right now the NBA plays every night and that goes against the well-proven theory of intermittent reward. Since there is very little scarcity of product, there is very little reward for its consumption. That is why football works - you only get one game a week. Ratings will soar to NFL-sized numbers so the TV $$ will more than make up for the 10 fewer games (or just add 3 more weekends).

This is the solution to all the NBA's problems, but I'm guessing they're a little too short-sighted to see it that way. 

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