Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!/The Return of Chongs/Gilbert Arenas and a Closer Look at the NBA CBA

I don’t like the NBA. I can’t watch an NBA game because they are pretty ridiculous from start to finish. They begin with player introductions that make it clear that NBA basketball is not a team game, rather a bunch of guys who fill out a roster around a star or two. I have seen Labron throw caulk dust over his head, and Shaq pretend to be a bowling ball knocking down other teammates who pretend to be pins. This sort of stuff is fine for pro wrestling, but is embarrassing for a real sport. The actual game play could be highly athletic, but last time I watched it required little skill as most of the points were scored on dunks or close in tip-ins, meaning that the only qualities needed by the players are height and the ability to jump slightly. When fouled, guys react like they have been shot, or had their houses burned down, or both. Endings are anticlimactic as the last two minutes of close games are ruined by the timeouts that are called every four seconds to drag out a close finish over 20 minutes. Perhaps worst of all, one of the most dominant players over the past 20 years or so couldn’t a hit a free throw if his life depended on it, but his reality show was pretty cool.

Off the court, things are even worse. We’ve all heard about how former NBA referee Tim Donaghy bet on lots of games, including ones that he was officiating. Recall that Kobe Bryant, the NBA’s golden boy, was accused of rape, and settled with his accuser out of court in 2003. Ron Artest was involved in beating up fans during a game, and admitted to drinking at halftime during his career. Latrel Spreewell tried to strangle his coach, and Jayson Williams was charged with murder/manslaughter in the death of a limo driver. And of course, around Christmas and New Years Gilbert Arenas admitted to storing firearms in his locker, and he and a teammate even allegedly drew guns on each other in the locker room during an argument about gambling debts.

The Arenas firearm issue brought one very interesting item to my attention. Apparently the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement between the player union and owners includes a clause that firearms are not allowed to be brought to the workplace. Now I would have thought that this would be fairly obvious, and wouldn’t need to be explicitly specified in the agreement. I would have guessed that most guys would know that they aren’t supposed to bring guns to work. I can’t think of very many workplace environments (other than police and military) at which weapons are required. I certainly don’t bother bringing any guns to my office job. So this has led me to wonder what else might be included in the NBA CBA. Fortunately, I was able to obtain said document, and here are 10 included clauses that caught my eye.

1. Please wear clothes when in a public venue. You do not need to wear clothes when showering, and you can wear pajamas while sleeping and swim trunks while at the beach or pool. Please wear your team uniform and sneakers whilst on the court. If you have a serious injury (such as a hangnail) and can’t play and still wish to hang out on the bench, please wear a cool suit.
2. If you need to pee or poop, please use the urinal or toilet. The urinal is for pee only, but you may pee and/or poop (or even vomit) in the toilet.
3. You are a professional basketball player. This means that you are paid to play basketball games, practice skills and drills, and participate in other team functions. You are paid in dollars, and this money can be exchanged for goods and services. The money that you earn can be used to purchase items that you want or need (e.g. house, car, food) or may be given to others to perform services for you (e.g. pay for someone to cut your grass).
4. Sunday is the first day of the week. In order, the days following Sunday are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
5. The team coach is in charge of setting the lineup, devising a strategy, making substitutions, etc. Please listen to what he says. The general manager is in charge of building the roster. Please listen to what he says.
6. Drugs are bad, m’kay, so don’t do drugs. M’kay.
7. A lot of people like to drink coffee, especially in the morning. Starbucks is a popular place to purchase coffee.
8. Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of 5 players try to score points against one another by placing a ball through a 10 foot (3.048 m) high hoop (the goal) under organized rules. You don’t need to worry about all of the rules, especially traveling.
9. String theory is a developing branch of quantum mechanics and general relativity into a quantum theory of gravity. The strings of string theory are one-dimensional oscillating lines, but they are no longer considered fundamental to the theory, which can be formulated in terms of points or surfaces too.
10. Many people like to have pets. Dogs are a popular choice as they are smart and affectionate, and can be trained to do tricks. Some people like cats because they are more independent and lower maintenance than dogs. My cat’s breath smells like cat food.

Who knew?

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