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The Red Line/Brandon Veale

NBA?back??Oh, that’s nice

December 1, 2011
The Daily Mining Gazette

Some people put up paintings or sculptures in their houses. My decor is pennants.

Quite a while ago, feeling that the walls in my apartment in Escanaba were a little bare, I found, on eBay, a pack of mini-pennants for each of the teams in the four major professional sports. Somewhere along the line, I cobbled together some strips of an old shirt, velcro bits and thumbtacks to devise a system by which these pennants could be displayed and adjusted along with the standings. The good news is, I never got so bored as to actually do the adjusting more than once or twice a year. The Tigers are still in the second place in the AL Central row.

After moving to my new apartment in May, I eventually got around to putting the pennants back up, but not the NBA ones. They're still in rubber bands on my desk, both because I never quite got the motivation to do anything with them and as something of a form of purgatory for the NBA lockout.

Just like the pennants, I haven't really figured out what to do with the NBA either.

I call myself a Detroit Pistons fan, but I can't say I'm a terribly good one. I've been to the Palace (once) more times than I've been to Joe Louis Arena, to sit in the second-to-last row of a Martin Luther King Jr., Day matinee blowout of a Steve Nash-less Suns team. I watched the team's playoff runs in the last decade - even remember bits of the Bad Boys era.

Thanks to a combination of my schedule, poor results and lack of interest, I can probably count the number of Pistons games I watched from beginning to end last year on one hand.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not hostile to it, I just didn't care much other than to check if Charles Barkley was saying something funny between national TV games or to see if the Pistons were openly defying coach John Kuester this week.

When November came and went with no NBA, I didn't really miss it, other than as a sports editor. After all, there have already been some pretty weak-looking Scoreboard sections lately, and it's always nice to know the Pistons and/or Bucks have your back if the local schedule gets wiped out by a January snowstorm.

Now, it's back. It appears the players and the owners had a bout of temporary sanity that bounced us from "nuclear winter," as commissioner David Stern put it, to a late spring.

Am I supposed to be mad at them? I don't feel that way - clearly, the previous business model didn't work for the owners, but can you blame the players for wanting to make the most money can for as long as they can? After all, Tom Gores can own the Pistons for as long as he can make payroll and stay above ground. Rip Hamilton's one flagrant foul from the history books.

I don't like LeBron James either, but only because he wrecked the Pistons in the 2008 playoffs. "The Decision" wasn't exactly good manners, but getting a national TV audience to listen to the finale of your job search was certainly more intelligent than other stuff I've seen in sports today, like the Stomp Heard 'Round The World by Ndamukong Suh.

I don't even mind the game. A lot of people bemoan the lack of fundamentals, but this remains a collection of some of the best athletes the world has to offer. All sports change and evolve, and this is the latest evolution of basketball, like it or not.

Apathy is the biggest obstacle I have to get over. The Pistons and Bucks will play games this year, but winning them is still a dicey proposition. Getting butts in the seats for a losing team is hard enough when you haven't spent the previous summer alienating your fans.

Looks like I'm going to have to find a place for those NBA pennants - after the Red Wings game is over.

Brandon Veale can be reached at



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