Sam Says: The NBA is like a popularity contest

Posted on Mar 6 2014 - 12:52am by Sam Horn, Sports Editor

LeBron James tumbles to the floor Feb. 20. His nose begins to bleed. Doctors say the apex predator of the NBA is out for at least two weeks, if not longer. The media subsequently blows the story out of proportion.

ESPN, SportingNews.com, Sports Illustrated and SB Nation all have detailed stories about how James’ injury will affect the Miami Heat’s chances of winning their next few games. This is the treatment the media gives to only the most prevalent NBA players.

This situation goes to show that the NBA is seemingly a popularity contest. The best players in the NBA get used to this life of media luxury.

The fact of the matter is there are plenty of NBA players who have suffered far worse injuries than James. The casual basketball follower probably hasn’t heard of these players’ situations, or even worse, the players themselves.

It’s the cold hard truth, not just about the NBA, but about sports as whole.

Take NBA center JaVale McGee for instance. McGee was sidelined for the remainder of the NBA season “after the stress injury in his tibia was revealed to be a fracture,” according to a USA TODAY report.

I understand the 7-foot Denver Nugget has been inconsistent in his career, averaging 8.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Since he hasn’t helped his team as much as James has aided the Heat, he receives less airtime. That’s just the state of affairs in the NBA.

When James’ nose injury occurred, I was enjoying some wings with some good friends at Buffalo Wild Wings. I witnessed James break his nose and blood spew out of his nostrils.

It was a grim sight, no doubt. But once James walked toward the locker room knowing his night was officially over, the news was all over SportsCenter.

The same night as James injured his nose, Jason Terry of the Sacramento Kings injured his knee. He was later diagnosed with a season-ending injury. I never saw that news on SportsCenter.

Minnesota Timberwolves’ center Ronny Turiaf injured his knee Feb. 20, the day James injured his nose, and will be out until early March. I have no recollection of witnessing this injury news unfolding on SportsCenter.

It’s disappointing when players get injured and don’t receive any media attention because they’re not like LeBron James in terms of skill or poise. It’s sad.

Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant ended his prolific scoring streak less than a month ago. In the span of 12 games, Durant averaged more than 30 points.

While Durant is widely regarded to be the undisputed recipient of this year’s MVP Award, he wasn’t the only player achieving success in January.

Devin Harris, who made his season debut Jan. 18 after his return from toe surgery, scored 14 points in back-to-back games off the bench last week.

But the Dallas Mavericks guard gets no love from SportsCenter for his glorious post-surgery performances. Just imagine what he had to do to get to this point in his career.

Both Durant and James are great players. They are the rare specimens the mortal soul rarely witnesses. They have risen to new heights and have given the NBA something to talk about. That’s why they receive an inordinate amount of media coverage.

I realize that the kings of the NBA garner so much attention because of what they do on the court. It’s remarkable what James and Durant can pull off on the hardwood. It literally boggles the mind.

On the same note, I hope players who might not be as physically gifted earn some media attention eventually. These players have worked too hard to go unnoticed.