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Basketball was created a simple game. The primary objective was to place a ball, without dribbling, into a peach basket. However, like Darwin's theory of man, basketball has evolved into the most exciting exhibition of athletic ability. Basketball has seen many rule changes, because of the increasing ability of the players. Basketball is a melting pot, where black, white, and European people excel. This is a sport that is color-blind. This sport requires complete control over one's body and mind. Pure strength is required to fight through opposing teams picks, and to gain position for rebounds.

Speed is necessary to create space for a shot attempt or a pass. Concentration is vital to dribbling a ball up the court, with an opposing defender harassing you. With as much physical prowess that is required for success, basketball is a mental chess match.

"Thurber, make the smart play!" yelled Coach Balderama all last season.This game is only "ten percent" physical as Duke's Coach K explains it. For those who deny the mental aspects of the game, John Stockton is an ideal example. He is not the fastest, strongest, or best player on the floor. Stockton uses angles and his understanding of basketball to quietly and consistently outplay much more talented opponents. There is a growing problem in the NBA, and it is evident in the "Pop Warner" leagues also. Basketball is not the same game it was ten years ago, and ESPN's Sportcenter, the lack of fundamentals, and the influx of teenagers into the professional ranks. "Vince Carter on the baseline... He raises up... Boo-ya, all in Alonzo Mourning's grill!" States an exited Stuart Scott. Every day ESPN gathers the most amazing highlights from the games the night before, and creates a visually appealing collage. As a religious viewer I am fed a steady diet of no look passes, monstrous slam-dunks, and impossible fade-away shots that only NBA caliber players are capable of making. This, almost unknowingly, has assisted in creating a new mentality towards the sport. Last season I would find myself in situations where I was trying to execute a spectacular play, instead of completing the easy one. Why do I try to imitate the sweeping crossover dribble glorified by Allen Iverson? ESPN has made "Playground" basketball in style. Allen Iverson is the pioneer of this ghetto revolution. On the court his style is comparable to Pistol Pete on acid. He incorporates every means of "Show-time", from his diamond-infested attire to his flashy antics off the court. He is from the ghetto, and ESPN exploits this dark horse image. Along with his "Playground style", that ruins years of coaching fundamentals, he is involved in a thuggish lifestyle. Iverson, and many other players, are still young men who participate in smoking weed, beating women, and multiple other illegal activities constantly. ESPN receives the police reports and bleeds the information to the public. Hoops Junkies, like myself, hear the information and we form opinions. Contrary to logical reasoning, ESPN makes me cheer a player for these normally condemnable acts. Latrell Sprewell attempted to asphyxiate his coach, and less that six months later he is praised like a man who found the cure for cancer. Player's "Realness" lies in direct proportion with their lifestyle.

American media wants the bad boys, because there is a more interesting behind them. With this going on, youths across the world are feed the message smoke weed, beat women, and most importantly forget the team concept and dunk the rock. ESPN is not the only source of blame for the non-existent morality of basketball, but I can directly link it to the American public's warped views and opinions of the professional basketball player.

Since the induction of the three-point arc, basketball has changed. Players reason, why settle for a sure bank shot from seventeen feet when I can step back a couple of feet and be rewarded for an additional point. That is the modern mindset of basketball players, and I catch myself taking a tough three over an easy two for no apparent reason. Players, these days, are too talented. Back in the 70's Oscar Robertson was by far the most athletically gifted player, but today his talent would almost go unnoticed. The NBA players now are on constant training regimens that are creating the most physically impressive athletes in the world. These athletes are constantly in season, but they are spending more time with their strength/conditioning coaches than their head coaches. Each player is an impressive physical specimen, and today players can jump higher and run faster than ever. This should create an ethereal flow to the game, because with all of the talent the game reasonably would be faster and more spectacular than ever before. Contrary to this assumption, last season the NBA had the lowest scoring average per game in many years. Coaches know that talent only gets you in the door, and the rest is complete dedication to the mental aspects of the game. Rick Pitino was an excellent college coach at Kentucky; here he benefited from his player's superior talents. Now as the coach for the Boston Celtics his team consists



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