Pro basketball is the sleek form of basketball in the same way that Las Vegas casinos are the sleek corporate face of gaming. College basketball, on the other hand, is like gaming at an online casino: you play a little or watch a little and then you go back and do your homework, study for the next exam, or prepare dinner for your kids!
In this article we’ll discuss the many ways that college basketball is better than the pros.
College Basketball is Way More Fun
People often forget that college basketball is played by 18-22 year old men and women. It is true that a team from Kansas might have players from other states, but on a college campus, there are always many students from other states or countries.
The campus atmosphere brings people together. College basketball is like an organized party for everyone on campus!
Pro Basketball is Corporate
The entire atmosphere in pro basketball is corporate. The players make millions of dollars per year and still find a lot to complain about. The best player in the league for the last 15 years switched teams for the expressed corporate intention of winning the championship in different cities.
Bobby Knight gave college basketball a bad name that lingered for a long time. College football coaches looking like demons had invaded their brains give college football a bad name as well. But college sports are still a lot better than pro sports despite the bad apples that pervade the games.
College Basketball Has No Labor Strife
Pro basketball is all about who will make the most money. In college basketball, even the top players on a good team know that they probably won’t make millions in professional basketball. So, college basketball players can play for the sheer fun of playing.
Actually, playing college sports looks very good on a resume so college basketball players do have a career incentive to play on their college team. But they don’t threaten to go on strike if their entry level salary is under six figures. In the pros, there is always the threat that a strike will come if the entry level salary is under seven figures!
Playoffs Versus Madness
The NBA Playoffs would not be interesting to most fans without the constant corporate hyping of the series and games. We admit that there is something positive about a team complaining about the referees after a particularly bitter defeat in a seven game series where no single game can determine the overall outcome of the series.
Then one set of series ends and another set of series begins and the refs continue to make mistakes. How human of them!
March Madness is called that because millions of students, alumni, and simple basketball fans get into the spirit of the college competition during the conference tournaments which will determine many of the teams in the NCAA tournament.
The big talk in the run up to March Madness is which team will be this year’s Cinderella team? Which top seed will lose in the first round because the eighth seed’s coach devised a great game plan? A one-game game plan would not work in the NBA playoffs but great game plans do work in the knock-out format of the NCAA tournament.
Moving on Up or Moving on Down?
College ball is full of young athletes on their way up either in basketball or in life generally. Pro basketball is a full of players on their way down as basketball players and in many cases as people.
Who can forget the great Juwan Howard when he played at Michigan? He wore a tattoo to memorialize his grandmother. He adopted a young man dying of AIDS. Then he became a pro and it was all about the glory and the money.
In the pros, the glory is far too often only about the money.
One of the game plans that win tournament games in college involves double-teaming or triple-teaming an opponent’s most dominant player on offense. The pros recently allowed zone defense but we still don’t see the overwhelming attention shown to one player as we do in the college game.
Team offense wins in the college game while individual brilliance wins in the pros.
Part of the idea that team offense wins in college basketball is the verifiable fact that a lot of tournament games are won by buzzer beaters or last second put backs. In most cases, the player making the last second shot to win a college tournament game is not the star offensive player on his team.
In the pros, the overwhelming majority of game-winning last second shots are taken by the team’s star player. Robert Horry and Steve Kerr are legendary because they made series winning shots despite not being their teams’ star offensive players.
College cheerleaders may be looking for show business careers but they are still students and play a big role in getting the fans going during games. In the pros, the cheerleaders are usually down and out women still hoping for a show business career who may get the crowd “excited” but play no part in getting the crowd excited about the games.
Where in the pros have you seen a trombone playing at halftime? In college ball, the band members are also students. They add to the fun part of going to a college basketball game. Their parents can be proud of them in their goofy uniforms.
In the pros, the music is usually provided by an organist that no one can see.
The pros play so many games and always travel after playing one game in one city. Thus, the NBA has a rule that since players already travel so much to get to games, travelling shall never be called during a game. 😉
Once Again, Fun
Most pro players retire and are never heard from again. A few get their jersey numbers retired. As the years go by, we see them get old and even more crotchety than they were as pros.
In college, the last game of the season is always emotional for every senior. These men and women are perhaps 22 years old but they already have to face the end of an era in their lives and the beginning of a new chapter. Even though pro basketball is played by adult men and women, we see a lot more growing up in the college game.
Three Last Words