Growing up in Cincinnati meant that I was going to be a Bengals fan and a Reds fan. But for pro basketball, a sport I love deeply, I was basically a fan with no team. As a kid, I followed a pretty solid formula. Root against the Bulls. And it wasn’t even that I disliked Jordan so much, I just inherently rooted for the underdog every time, which was never Jordan by the time I was old enough to know what the fuck was up. And to this day I’ve really enjoyed never having a true blood-boiling allegiance to any NBA team.
So some years I was a Knicks fan (I like to think of myself as a better Anthony Mason), some years I was a Pacers fan (DUNKEEEN DUTCHMAN!), and some years I didn’t really care who won as long as the games were good. I liked this set up and still do. The NBA is the one sport I can watch casually and never get that upset about the result. I mean, I will root for a team to win (Right now that team is the Knicks because I live in NYC and they are oddly compelling no matter how good or bad they are), but if they don’t it’s not going to put me in a funk. I’m not going to start mainlining whiskey if the Knicks give up 74 points in one half of ball (They did this last night! It was darkly amusing.). And I watch a lot more NBA than I do other sports because of this.*
Anyway, the NBA these days has so many good teams and players and stories making you want to watch that basically every night there is a good reason to tune in. Especially when you haven’t gone sour on the whole league because of your favorite team’s problems. It’s like no strings attached romance. You can walk away without feeling guilty. And you won’t feel guilty a couple days later if you dial the NBA’s number for a late night encounter again.
*Sidebar: Football is football, so I’m gonna watch a certain amount of games every week no matter what depending on the matchups. Baseball though, unless the Reds are playing, it might as well be some form of slow drip torture. Although I do like rooting against the Yankees, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to watch their games. I just need a baseline of intelligence about their team and then I can get them riled up about Jeter being a bronzed statue out in the field or George Steinbrenner pulling strings via Ouija Board. Hockey is not televised as far as I know. And European Soccer is awesome and I would watch a lot more of it if all the games weren’t on in the middle of the workday. Not coincidentally, Euro Soccer is also a sport where I don’t have a rooting interest.