THE MILLION DOLLAR BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took over the leadership of the National Basketball Association from long time commissioner David Stern in 2014 with the promise to revitalize the league and make it more of a commercially viable business as well as a major sport. For the most part he had made great strides in that direction.
One of the regrettable axioms about the game of basketball is that you really don’t have to start watching the contest until the final 5 minutes of the game to see the best of the action. Some even believe that watching the NBA games in the regular season is a waste of time when the real action does not begin until the playoffs start getting close.
It is in the nature of the game of basketball that the tension and drama do build up until it all comes down to the last few minutes of play to determine the winners of the game. Unless you are a serious student of the game, it is taxing to follow the action up and down the floor for an entire NBA contest.
In an effort to add a little more life into the NBA regular season, the Commissioner’s office has been considering some sort of mid season tournament for quite awhile now with the biggest stumbling block being generating enough interest among the players themselves so that the tournament does not seem like simply more of a work load.
However, Adam Silver and company have come up with an idea that just might get the players attention. How does a million bucks per player on the tournament winning team sound? Do you think Mr. Silver has gotten their attention with that one?
The mid season tournament would be structured along the same lines as the season finals tourney with the six division winners plus two wild card spots making up the quarter finals games, which will take place on the home team’s venue. The semi finals will follow with the games then being played at neutral sites, which could bring live NBA to venues that lack championship caliber teams that year.
If all goes according to plan, the first mid season NBA tournament would take place during the 2021-2022 season. The league will also be celebrating its 75th anniversary that year. That is if the team owners don’t block the effort claiming lost revenue, but then very few NBA team owners are exactly facing poverty any time soon.
Then there are some players to whom the million dollar prize for winning the mid season tournament could be sufficient reason to stay with a team that might be in contention that year. There exists also that elite bunch of NBA super stars to which the million dollar offer will not even raise an eye brow.
Others see the possibility of a team’s tanking during the mid year tourney so as to be in better shape for the real action then the NBA Finals really do begin in the spring. At this point no one is quite sure how it will all work out.
Time will tell where the NBA stands in 2021. If attendance and revenues are up and everyone is making money, the mid season tournament make be left on the shelf. If however, the league continues to see declines in attendance and public interest, then a mid season tournament with its million dollars a man purse is a definite possibility.