To many people in the United States and around the world, the National Basketball Association is arguably the most entertaining major league sport—partially because of the basketball and partially because of an idea called “the narrative.”
Each team has their own story to tell, and each player has a different journey for the audience to watch unfold before their very eyes. Typically, the narrative starts off strong: the first ten games are crucial for a team to earn a good seeding in their division and conference.
Autumn freezes into winter, players get moved around and teams get tired. The season gets a little tedious before the All-Star break and trade deadline, heats back up again as the playoffs arrive. But, the 2018-2019 season has been very atypical: the narrative started in early July.
Say what you will about LeBron James, but the man’s impact on the league is colossal and undeniable. LeBron’s second decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers was an intense attention grabber for NBA fans, and a gut punch for the good people of northeast Ohio.
After the king of the east moved west, a bit of shock in the west ensued as Kawhi Leonard requested a trade, as head coach Gregg Popovich is universally respected. Leonard eventually went to the Toronto Raptors in a blockbuster trade.
Moving past the off season, the first two weeks of the NBA have been more entertaining than usual. The Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo, leads the Milwaukee Bucks to second in the east behind the Raptors, the Denver Nuggets are giving the Golden State Warriors a run for their money, and the Sacramento Kings—yes, the Sacramento Kings—are leading their division with six wins and three losses.
On Halloween night, Derrick Rose gave the performance of his injury-ridden career, scoring 50 points on the Utah Jazz. His team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, has shown promise this year on the court despite locker room troubles.
Jimmy Butler asked for a trade and did not get one. He has been acting out as the class clown, much to the enjoyment of everyone except for the Timberwolves fans.
Klay Thompson has already broken the record for most three point shots scored in one game, with 14, beating his teammate Steph Curry. Of course, watching the Golden State Warriors is akin to playing with little kids who make up the rules as they go along so they can win every time.
It is the absolute most fun thing in the world to them, but is tired and boring for everyone else. But that’s the zeitgeist of this season; sure, maybe the Warriors are just as dominant as ever, but everything else is up in the air. The past four Finals have been Warriors vs. Cavs, but, since Lebron moved to LA, the eastern conference title is up for grabs. So, while there is still one definite super-team, this season should be extremely entertaining for everyone, no matter their favorite team or favorite player. It will be entertaining for fans of basketball, at least those who follow the narrative.