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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • NBA caters to marketable stars

  • Whether it's Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or LeBron James the NBA has long catered to superstars who play with flare in a large market.
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  • Whether it's Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or LeBron James the NBA has long catered to superstars who play with flare in a large market. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are superstars, but they don't play in one of the larger markets ¬ or with as much flare. They don't sell as many jerseys. They don't promote arrogance. They are role model citizens. I guess that says a lot about today's society in general. This is why I have built a strong dislike for the NBA. If convenient, I watch during the fourth quarter of the championship series. The high school brand of basketball is much more pure and enjoyable to watch for me. In Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday, San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili crossed the lane with time running down as Ray Allen locked him up, causing a turnover according to the officials … and one was Joey Crawford, who is the epitome of corruption. With San Antonio down by one, this no-call changed the course of the game. Who knows what would have happened had they used the rulebook to determine the call and allowed Ginobili to shoot free throws. Notably, the Spurs missed two free throws down the stretch and two critical defensive rebounds or they would have won anyway. And yes, when given a second chance, James delivered a huge three-pointer. With the way the NBA is officiated, four titles by San Antonio since 1999 is the equivalent to six or seven in Los Angeles, Miami or Chicago. There are so many more obstacles to overcome for the Spurs. The Spurs should be dancing on the Riverwalk right now, celebrating their fifth title since 1999. Instead they are waiting for Thursday's Game 7. My heads says the Heat, but my heart is with San Antonio, which has by far the most complete TEAM. The NBA needs to clean house when it comes to officiating or they will lose more already casual fans. Remember, this is the same league that employed Tim Donaghy, who was found guilty of fixing games for profit. NBA is a business. A dirty business. Corruption runs deep. Removing Crawfowd and the old regime would be a step in the right direction. City, school projects It's great to see our town here in Heber Springs continue to prosper with many new outdoor amenities. However, I would like to see a children's water park for the Community Center as the plans originally called. Also, the new field turf and track at Panther Stadium will be great, but the press box looks rather puny sitting atop the home stands. I think it would be a good idea for Heber to consider a two-tier press box separating coaches on one level and media, PA announcer, clock keeper and other personnel on a different level. (Will Gilbert is sports editor for The Sun-Times. Send comments to sports@thesuntimes.com)

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