I’ve been frustrated lately at how much the NFL has dominated the sports scene in this country, because to me, the NBA is so much more entertaining. Let’s take a look at how the two leagues match up when their respective “biggest weekends” square off.
By the way, I think this evaluation is about as objective as one can get. Totally a fair perspective on both events.
1. Location, Location, Location
Yeah, I know that the new Cowboys Stadium is amazing, but Dallas was experiencing some nasty weather that week, whereas the NBA All-Star Weekend took place in beautiful southern California. And by the way, the Staples Center is no slouch of a venue in its own right.
2. Everything that took place outside of Sunday
What does the NFL have here? Media day, some stupid team pictures that caused controversy, some boring Hall of Fame announcements, and a couple of cocktail parties.
How about the NBA, then?
- A really lame celebrity game which was made a mockery of by preteen girls when they voted Justin Bieber the MVP, but was still watchable thanks to the play of Scottie Pippen.
- The sneakily-entertaining Rookie Challenge that, despite having no defense being played 99% of the time, is filled with a lot of exciting alley-oops like this and this.
- TNT ran 3 great hours of pregame programming that included a look back at the greatest All Star games and performances, the best non-winning dunks in the history of the dunk contest, and my personal favorite: a 6-team fantasy draft done by 6 of their analysts to pick the best team of all-stars out of every player in NBA history.
- All Star Saturday Night included 3 so-so events in the Shooting Stars, Skills Challenge, and 3 Pt Challenge, but this year, the Dunk Contest made a triumphant return after being pretty disappointing the last few years (we were all getting sick of Nate Robinson).
Edge: NBA by a mile
3. Musical performances
The NFL had this debacle by Christina Aguilera for the national anthem, and then the Black Eyed Peas proved their need for gobs of studio production with their dumpster fire of a halftime show. I’m not really aware of any other performances, but even if there were any, I’m sure they sucked.
The NBA, on the other hand, had a couple duds like Lenny Kravitz and something called Cee Lo, but they also had Cali Swag District perform their red hot single “Teach Me How to Dougie” for halftime of the Rookie Challenge, a fantastic Star Spangled Banner by Josh Groban (not to mention the NBA always has the awesome “Oh, Canada” before the All Star Game, as well), and then my personal favorite performance of the weekend, which was Rihanna’s halftime show.
Edge: Again, the NBA has it
So, the Super Bowl was deciding the world champions of their sport, but the NBA had all of the top athletes in its sport all in one game. Sounds like a toss up to me.
5. Rooting Interests
The Super Bowl was comprised of two teams I hated. The All Star Game had two teams that I liked: Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Dwight Howard on the East, and Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, and Blake Griffin on the West.
Despite all these great reasons as to why the NBA All Star Game was better, the Super Bowl maintained a much higher level of popularity and got amazing TV ratings. I don’t get why the Super Bowl has become a quasi-national holiday, but just about everybody, even non-sports fans, attends a Super Bowl party each year.
Edge: NFL by a long-shot
Well, overall it looks like the NBA beat the NFL pretty handily in my mind, but the world sees it quite differently. Oh, well. You know what they say, “What’s popular isn’t always right, and what’s right isn’t always popular”.