It's official. Nobody was watching the NBA Finals this year.

Well okay, not "nobody" exactly. But the Finals averaged a pitiful 9.2 million viewers per game -- the worst ratings ever for the Big Show, easily surpassing the previous all-time low of 9.9 million (for the soul-numbing 2003 Nets/Spurs Finals).

To put this into perspective, more people tuned into America's Got Talent (11.8 million), So You Think You Can Dance (10.6 million), and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader (9.97 million) than Game 4 of the NBA Finals (9.91 million). That's right: the American public would rather watch a tone-deaf cocktail waitress try to sing and dance, or an auto mechanic try to guess the capital of Montana, than see Tim Duncan battle Lebron James for the world championship of professional basketball.

That sound you just heard was David Stern's bleeding ulcer. Exploding.

Better than the NBA Finals? Millions said "yes."

Some other NBA Finals fun facts: The ratings for this year's Finals were down 28 percent from last year. What takes that tragic figure and gives it a Super Size of "sad" is that the 2006 Heat/Mavericks crapstravaganza was one of the worst-rated Finals in history. In fact, you can accurately consider this a trend, since the five lowest-rated NBA Finals have taken place during the past six seasons (three of which featured your world champion San Antonio Spurs).

So what can be done to fix this mess? John Hollinger has some ideas, but, no offense to him, they suck. His suggestions include such revolutionary concepts as better exposure for the league, better team matchups, and a better overall season. Wow. Those are some pretty radical suggestions there, John.

Forget all that namby-pamby stuff. PBS can't afford to show an NBA "Game of the Week," it's impossible to legislate quality of play, and short of fixing games via dubious suspensions (or even dubiouser non-suspensions), the league can't dictate which teams will make the NBA Finals. Well, never fear, my children. I've got your fixes right here:

Things that could improve the NBA Finals

1. Show the Finals on tape delay, just like the late 70s/early 80s. Only instead of actual footage, the games will be lovably and laughably recreated by the makers of Robot Chicken! Tim Duncan might be as boring as listening to your boss talk about how to seamlessly operationalize cross-platform paradigm transfers, but an animated Tim Duncan made out of chunks of clay that look like cow poop? Now that would be worth watching.

2. Build a time machine. Then, if the Finals end up sucking (again), you can simply go back in time and tell your past self not to watch. This will probably cause some kind of deadly catastrophe with the Space-Time Continuum that will destroy this universe and maybe a few others. But if you actually watched this year's championship series, I'm sure you'll agree that snuffing out billions of lives will probably be worth it.

2a. Before destroying the universe, you should go back to first grade and beat up that bully who pulled your pants down in front of Heather Durfy.

3. Before the tip-off of Game 1, replace the members of each team with a prechosen mix of lumberjacks, monkeys, pirates, ninjas, and Chuck Norris. This will require you to surround the court with an unbreakable steel cage and a bubble of shatter-proof glass, but oh man, the show would be television gold.

4. Spankings. And after the spankings, the oral sex. It may not improve the Finals per se, but it'll make everything else a little better.

5. Quest for the Holy Grail. Assuming you survive the quest and actually recover the Grail, use it to restore the youth and vigor of various NBA legends (Bird, Magic, Michael, et al). Then let them save the league and, by extension, the Finals.

6. Expose all current NBA players and draft prospects to large doses of radiation (Gamma Rays, Cosmic Rays, etc.). The players who don't melt or immediately develop a deadly cancer will probably be imbued with fantastic powers beyond our wildest imaginations. Wouldn't you watch a basketball game where everybody had superhuman strength and half of the players were on fire? I know I would.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
The NBA championship is NOT the world championship. Only in a America can you claim a winner is the world champion without actually inviding any other nations to send a team to compete (Canada doesn't count).

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The Nets-Spurs series wasn't terrible. It went 6 games and the Nets provided some excitement.

That said, the Spurs, then and now, are boring to watch. I'd honestly rather watch a WNBA practice than the Spurs.

Besides the Spurs problem, the league really fell off when they switched from NBC to ABC. Remember the good ol' days on NBC? Games every weekend? Triple-headers?

These days you get one game on Sunday on ABC and it only involves these teams:Lakers, Cavs, Heat, Spurs. People need variety.

Show us a Golden State game. Show us New Jersey. Show us Portland.

There is some great talent out there for the league to showcase, but they still push the same 4 value-meal teams on us.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

America is the world. Deal with it.

David Stern

Blogger Statbuster said...
"The NBA championship is NOT the world championship. Only in a America can you claim a winner is the world champion without actually inviding any other nations to send a team to compete (Canada doesn't count). "

20 years ago I would have agreed, but the last 3 MVPs have been from either Canada or Germany, and the league champs start 2 Argentenians, a Frenchman and a guy from the Virgin Isles. That's about as 'world' as you're going to get.

And you thought the Spurs/Cavs was unwatchable? What if Stern took you up on your idea and invited over a team consisting of Trajan Langdon, Peja Drobnjak and Khalid El-Amin?

Blogger Evil Ted said...

You are so right. Everyone knows the Al-Kladid Games held in Southern Afghanistan in July far surpass the NBA in quality of basketball, as do the Peruvian Conquistador Games held in November...

...perhaps someday the NBA will allow players from other countries into the league and we can bring legitimacy to the NBA championship.

...and perhaps a Basketbawful version of Mike & Mike's "Just shut up" Award is in order.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I never said that the NBA wasn't the best basketball league in the world. It is by a longshot. Well, at least the western conference. I have serious doubts that the Cavs could beat my local YMCA club.

BUT, that doesn't make the winner of the NBA finals the world champion. England probably has the best football (soccer to you yankees) league in the world but they don't claim that their winner is the world champion. Even though the teams are full of non-english players and the leagues best player is a snorty prick from portugal.

And for the record, Spain is the reigning World Champion of Basketball. The United States of America (also known as "The World" in certain states of North America) finished third in 2006 and haven't won it since 1994.

Blogger Evil Ted said...
I should have known you were English. Anyone who calls soccer football deserves a beating, and not some wimpy rugby-style beating - a real pounding administered by NFL linemen.

Spain beat the hodge-podge of American players who weren't too full of themselves to go and compete. After the first Dream Team (a genuine set of the best American players) put an embarrassing beat down on the rest of the world, we haven't taken it seriously since, giving English whiners an opportunity to make outrageous claims on basketball blogs.

You said yourself the best basketball in the world by a longshot is in the NBA. Ergo, the champ in the best league in the world is the World Champ. If it makes you feel better, go right ahead and call the English soccer champion the world champ - none of us here at Basketbawful, or the staff at Soccerbawful - will mind at all. Although I imagine there will be a few Irish and Scottish hooligans banging on your door before long to dispute your claim... careful though, given the opportunity, soccer hooligans can very quickly become roughians, or even rapscallions.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Actually I ain't english and have never been to England. So you were wrong about that (just as you yankees were wrong about the new basketball, the location of the WMD etc. Its becoming quite a trend on your site of the atlantic).

And please don't get me started on the NFL. Its nothing but a wimpy, watered-down version of Rugby. The players are so much pansies that they wear body armour and helmets for their protection. You don't see that in rugby. NFL players die of cocaine overdoses and car crashes, rubgy players die on the field because of broken necks.

And for the record, Spain didn't beat America in the World Championship, USA didn't get far enough in the competition to meet them. They got dismantled by Greece in the quarter final (who then got promtly spanked by Spain in the finals). The first Dream Team was the best, but you can't live on old fame forever.

I feel pretty great already so I don't have the urge to call the English Football Champion the world champ. I am though thinking about to try to convince our National Football Authorities to call our national champions the North American (World?) Champions.

And about the aclaimed hooligans. Nobody worries about Irish hooligans, they'll be to drunk to stand on their feet. And the Scottish hooligans..well, you should never fear a "hooligan" who wears a skirt.