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Why we’re still alone
Plenty of pundits have inveighed against the increasing idiocy of basketball these days — because the players’ naked desperation to become the next slam-dunking superstar leads everyone to hog the ball, never pass, and thus destroy any possibility of the team functioning as, well, a team. Michael Sokolove wrote a terrific analysis of this in the New York Times Magazine a few months ago.
If you wanted more — and weirder — evidence of the NBA’s malaise, read a story on the cover of the Times itself today, in which Seth Schiesel reports on the fact that many young kids and teenagers think the video-game versions of the NBA and the NFL are more interesting than the real-life ones. They’d rather play those games than watch one on TV. And why not? In addition to being able to participate, they can actually play the game as it’s supposed to be played — with teamwork. As one teenager points out:
“I like Kobe, O.K.?,” Albert Arce said, referring to Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers star. “But I like to play him because I can make him pass to the other guys. When I see him on TV, it’s like he doesn’t know how to pass.”
Perfect. Personally, I think we should just skip the inevitable transition point here, and emulate South Korea: Instead of televising actual real-life games, let’s simply broadcast video-game matches. I’d far rather watch a couple of skilful teenagers try to outsmart each other on the virtual court — using actual wits, strategy and timing — than watch the dreary cavalcade of freakshow eugenics that pro sports has become.
While we’re at it, hell, why not completely halt all broadcasting of anything remotely related to actual, real-life sports? Put deathmatches of the world’s top-ranked Halo, Counterstrike, and Unreal teams on prime-time TV. Then we’d actually have something worth watching!
I'm Clive Thompson, a writer on science, technology, and culture. This blog collects bits of offbeat research I'm running into, and musings thereon.
Currently, I'm a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. I also write for Fast Company and Wired magazine's web site, among other places. Email or AOL IM me (pomeranian99) to say hi or send in something strange!
May 20, 2011 » 02:28 PM
From Christopher Kennedy’s very droll book “Neitzsche’s Horse”.
July 28, 2010 » 07:35 AM
“Wr” - S
July 06, 2010 » 10:05 AM
My Xbox broke, and I was trying to Google some possible technical solutions, when I noticed that Google appears to be encouraging me to make a typo. I suppose it’s possible that Google’s algorithms know that typing “wont” instead of “won’t” would produce better results.
June 29, 2010 » 05:00 PM
On the other hand, when I tried the test for multitasking, I was pretty abysmal. I performed worse than people who identify themselves as heavy multitaskers, and those who identify as low multitaskers.
June 29, 2010 » 04:58 PM
I finally got around to trying out the interactive “test your distractability and multitasking” page at the New York Times, which they put up alongside their story earlier this month about how computer distractions are eroding our lives.
According to the test, I guess I have good focus — I’m not very distractable!
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