Resting NBA players at the Expense of Others

By Adrienne T.K.

On March 11th, 2017, the Warriors endured an embarrassing loss to the Spurs, 107-85. NBA stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala all sat out the whole game. On March 18th, 2017, the Cavaliers endured a similar situation, where they suffered an embarrassing loss to the Clippers, 78-108. Without their three stars LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love who were sitting out for rest, the Cavs relied on their bench players to put up the points. Sitting out NBA players has been an issue for a while. We know they do it to refresh stars for upcoming games and try out bench players, but it is done at the expense of a lot of people. Even though it happened in 2017, a really good solution still hasn’t really been thought of. Fans, TV channels, players, and NBA teams have been affected both negatively and positively by this issue.

Fans have been paying premium ticket prices to come to NBA games, just to see that the star players that everyone came to see aren’t there. That is a waste of time and money. For example, when the Warriors played the Spurs during the regular season, it was awful. They were blown out. Although it was a regular season game, seat prices still reached well over $258. Hundreds of fans were infuriated. This could have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many fans, and they didn’t even get to experience it. Numerous cases like these have happened throughout the season. The NBA is aware that fans are very upset as well but didn’t do anything for a while. In a memo obtained by the Associated Press, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, “Decisions of this kind … can affect fans and business partners, impact our reputation and damage the perception of our game.” There have been numerous games when players were resting and fans were either holding up signs or chanting. Among others, one sign read, “Traveled 4 hours and spent $800 to see LeBron and he’s at home.” Sitting out NBA players for rest has definitely been a very negative thing for fans who come to see all of these NBA games.

Resting NBA players also had effects on the players themselves; although, they happened to be both negative and positive. I understand that the players need rest but resting the players when they are completely healthy and want to play is just awful. While the players may be getting more refreshed, fans are in the stands upset because their favorite players aren’t playing. There is no way for them to get their money back.

Even though players don’t make the final call on if they are sitting out or not, fans are still very upset. Players receive chants and even see signs that show how upset fans really are.  One fan went as far as blaming LeBron James for the outcome of his holidays by saying, “LeBron. Thanks for ruining my Christmas!” Teams and TV channels have also been negatively affected by the resting of NBA stars. As expected, teams will see a decrease in the amount of wins during their season when they have star players sitting out. Having games where you get blown out still alters your chance of being in the playoffs. Although the bench players are getting playing time, they may not be as experienced as the star players. TV channels are affected negatively as well. They pay upwards of $24 billion to the NBA, according to the New York Post, and some of it is going to waste. When people are not tuning in to watch these games, they lose money. Far fewer people will be watching these games if they know it’s going to be a blowout because star players aren’t even playing. There have even been games that I was tuning in to watch but didn’t because the players I wanted to watch weren’t even playing.

I understand that players need to rest, and that they need time to get refreshed, but it is not fair to do it when they are healthy. Unfortunately, the practice is done at the expense of fans, TV channels, and teams. The NBA decided to fine teams $100,000 and more for resting healthy players. The Spurs have even been fined $250,000 for resting their NBA superstars. Yet, in 2018, teams were still willing to rest healthy players regardless if there is a fine or not. Clearly money is not an issue for teams. They only want to win and keep star players on the teams. Therefore, something must be done.

Student Bio

Adrienne T.K.

2018 Summer Program

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