Tom Sorensen

If you’re one of those people who don’t get the NBA playoffs, listen up

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James might sit out a regular-season game here and there, but come playoff time he’s all business.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James might sit out a regular-season game here and there, but come playoff time he’s all business. AP

On Saturday we’ll be a week into the NBA playoffs. A difference between the NBA and the NFL, and NBA and Major League Baseball, is that the NBA’s detractors are louder. I’ll write about an intense and dramatic NBA playoff series, or talk about it on the radio, and hear from people who angrily disagree.

“Nobody cares,” they’ll say.

The TV ratings prove otherwise.

Some people want others to like what they like. I’m kind of glad they don’t. It would be wrong if everybody liked the blues and convertibles and greyhounds and the NBA playoffs. It’s like a club. If you get it, you get it. If not, that’s fine, too.

One criticism I hear is when a team’s stars sit out a game. Fans pay for season tickets, or for individual game tickets, to see a star. The star comes to your town and has no more impact on the outcome than you do. He merely has a better seat.

Yet bodies weren’t designed to take the pounding the NBA delivers. LeBron James is the best player in league, and has been for a long time. He’s 6-8 and weighs 250 pounds. He’s been pushing that body up and down the court for 14 seasons. He can’t go hard every night.

NBA rosters are the most exclusive in sport. Talent can get you there. But talent alone rarely keeps you there. You have to work. Players do.

If my kids were young, and we went to Spectrum Center specifically to see LeBron, and he didn’t play, I’d be disappointed. My kids would be angry or hurt. So I’d tell them why he sat out. And if they didn’t get it then, they’d get it later.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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