For days sports media has been discussing the issue of National Basketball League players resting during the regular season. And this isn’t a new issue, it’s only now making headlines because the game in question was broadcast on ABC and the match-up was hyped for two weeks leading up to the event and ABC has a right to be upset that star players weren’t playing during the game because it hurts their ratings and subsequent revenue. So while it’s great that this is now making news, but really NBA fans have been upset by this practices for a long time. But why all the hubbub about players resting?
The NBA regular season is 82 games long, spanning from November-April, with a few instances of back-to-back games. Star players are playing an average of 30-35 minutes per game, which is a lot of minutes to play per game. But it’s not like they are playing multiple games in a row, in fact, in the NBA back-to-back games are rare with teams only having a few every night. Plus taking into account the conditioning and training these players go through each day, is there really any kind of explanation why stars like LeBron James or Steph Curry would be sitting out any regular season game?
And before anyone starts in with the “have to be rested for playoffs” speech that has been discussed at great length, let’s take a step back and think about how really gets the short end when players rest. (Hint: it’s the NBA fans). Ya know those people that pay a lot of money to attend these games, and really it’s the team’s out-of-town fans that hurt the most. Think about all the fans that showed up in LA to see James and company only to find out right before the game that James was sitting out? How is that fair? Because of course, these stars aren’t sitting out for home games. Nope, they usually end up “resting” during away games, thus telling their fans in different cities that they could care less about the money you paid to come see them, they only care about their fans at home.
We’re not even going to discuss the amount of money these athletes are being paid to play, because that’s a whole separate issue, especially when you think about how the money fans pay to attend games plays into these huge contracts, but yet that’s not the issue.
No the issue is that NBA players are constantly “resting” throughout the season when they are perfectly capable to play (usually only when they’re out of town). Sure, the NBA is different then it was when Allen Iverson played 40 minutes in one game or Michael Jordan played in Game 5 of the finals with the flu. But is it really too much to ask that star players actually play a full season?