Adam Silver will need to field many questions about parity concerns in the NBA because of the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers meeting in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight year. He’s not too concerned.
Parity, parity, parity. It’s one of those buzzwords that you hear thrown around all of the major sports. Hockey heads will thumb their noses at a fourth straight NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. But according to Adam Silver, there isn’t really a parity issue in the NBA.
Andrew Joe Potter of theScore is reporting that Silver spoke about the issue of parity at his state-of-the-league press conference.
“First of all, just to get here is quite a spectacular achievement and for those teams to have gotten here four years in a row is even that much more difficult,” Silver told the media at his state-of-the-league press conference ahead of Game 1. “I think this league is about celebrating greatness and that’s what we are seeing here.”
“On the other hand, you could do more to achieve parity, but you also don’t want parity of mediocrity, either,” Silver added. “You look to find the right balance as a league and it’s something we always continue to look at.”
Of course, Silver is going to give the rose-colored view of the league and even if he thinks parity is an issue, it’s not an issue that he will touch right before the NBA Finals. He’s going to say and do everything to promote the fourth straight matchup between the Warriors and the Cavs. Yes, he hints that maybe the league could benefit from a little more balance, but he is in no way advocating for any drastic changes.
People aren’t going to want to hear this, but Silver is right about the league. A few dominant teams competing for a title is better than a bunch of mediocre teams stumbling over one another on their way to an NBA Finals.
Everyone loves a good Cinderella story, but that isn’t what the majority of fans tune in to see when they watch the NBA. They tune in to see greatness. This NBA Finals matchup is featuring arguably the greatest player of all time and arguably the greatest team of all time. What could be better than that?
And it’s almost laughable to listen to all the hand-wringing about how the NBA is going to suffer from a lack of parity. When in NBA history has there ever been league-wide parity? Almost never if we’re being honest.
The Boston Celtics and Bill Russell dominated the 1960s. The 1970s were probably the decade with the most parity and the NBA eventually needed to be saved by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson in the 1980s. The 1990s were dominated by the Michael Jordan-led Bulls. The early 2000s belonged to Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and the Los Angeles Lakers. There was a brief period of parity prior to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh teamed up in Miami. Following the Heat’s reign, the crown was overtaken by Stephen Curry and this current Warriors team.
So what does this quick history lesson have to do with the current state of the NBA? Well, the fact of the matter is that almost every period in NBA history was characterized by unbelievable greatness, not parity. The league is driven by greatness and the 2018 NBA Finals include some of the all-time greats.
The league is fine—despite what NBA detractors will try to sell you. The TV ratings for this series will be incredible and one day we will all look back and no one will remember this silly debate about why the league is turning some fans off.