Kornheiser -- "Basketball is the game"

Discussion in 'Business and Media' started by bigsmooth, Sep 5, 2002.

  1. bigsmooth

    bigsmooth New Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Washington, DC
    On the heels of Argentina's win over the U.S. at the WBCs in Indianapolis, Tony Kornheiser proclaimed on his radio show that basketball will become "the world's game" supplanting soccer as number one worldwide.
    His argument is based on the game's growing influence globally, as well as the fact that it's popular in the U.S. where the TV money for sports is greater than in any country in the world, which could naturally spur the growth of, as he put it, the world's first international professional sports league truly competing in a "World Series" or something like that.
    As Tony sees it, this could only happen in basketball because soccer is not popular enough in this country to make it worthwhile economically (i.e. the rest of the world would watch soccer, but the U.S. would not, but the whole world including the U.S. watches basketball, so it and not soccer is the natural candidate to have the world's first true international league).
    I tried not to take this monologue as soccer-bashing (though I'm sure it pleases Tony to have the world learning "our" game -- basketball, that is -- and coming to love it as much as we do) but rather as his international sports/business analysis of interpreting a possible trend in the near future -- the growth of basketball as the true world's game since it's still growing in most countries, whereas soccer is already played in most of the world and theoretically has less room for growth, including here in the US, where the game isn't "tv friendly."
  2. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Reset from a whole 'nother discussion that went on too long...

    What about cricket? ;)
  3. Motterman

    Motterman Member

    Jul 8, 2002
    Orlando, FL
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I only saw 5 minutes of the USA-Argentina match last night, but after seeing an Argie rolling around on the court after being "fouled" I couldn't stop myself from screaming - THIS IS BASKETBALL NOT FOOTBALL!!!! at the television.
  4. CUS

    CUS New Member

    Apr 20, 2000
    Attendence at USvARG: ~5600.

    Any more questions?
  5. Paul Schmidt

    Paul Schmidt Member

    Feb 3, 2001
    Portland, Oregon!
    I recall a Sports Business News posting of some article saying that worldwide basketball popularity fell after the first Jordan retirement, and really hasn't recovered.

    I do know this- if the American pros keep crapping on international competitions, any gains that were made will be quickly lost. Even with Argentina beating America, I'm not sure you motivate the Shaqs of the world to get involved.

    In 1998, in Athens, when the worlds were held there and the NBA PA was on strike, the CBA All-Star team representing the US drew, oh, 1,000 fans a game. Most of the other games drew much more than that (Greece packed the arenas, of course). USA can't dis the world like that and expect to grow the game worldwide.
  6. Claymore

    Claymore Member

    Jul 9, 2000
    Montgomery Vlg, MD
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You mean he's given up on pointy-ball (American Football) conquering the world? I guess he'd have to, as the only people going to NFL-Europe games are US servicemen.

    Cricket? Hmmm...high scoring, looks similar to baseball...but games can last for days.
  7. Andy_B

    Andy_B Member+

    Feb 2, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This arguement is so easily defeated, it isn't funny.

    More people attend soccer games in the US, than attend basketball games ANYWHERE on the globe besides the US.

  8. Ed NYC Firm

    Ed NYC Firm Member

    May 14, 2000
    Dundee FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Better tell the American player who stamped on him the same thing .
  9. Treetaliano

    Treetaliano Member

    Jun 29, 2002
    San Diego
    So popular that the crowd was 5,623? In the biggest basketball state in the US?

    So popular that the US sends a fourth or fifth string team?


    This arrogant banter is exactly why the rest of the world laughs at our view of soccer. And rightfully so.

    Maybe someday there will be teams from the US joining with teams from other countries. David Stern has been quoted as saying that Spain, Italy and the Balkan republics are being looked at for exapansion for a "WBA" in the next decade. Maybe he was just giving a good quote, but just the fact that he implies it means there is some thinking going into it. That being said, there is NO way that basketball will surpass soccer in ANY non country outside the US, save maybe the aforementioned Balkans. Even then that is a big maybe.

    Regardless, even if they could support teams on a fan base level outside the US (Toronto doesnt count here) there is no way they could ever finance the players.

    Someone like Jim MacIlvaine, the scrub from the Nets, who makes the same amount of money a year as Figo and Zidane combined is going to be able to make that playing for the "Belgrade Red Stars"? Is Kobe Bryant going to enjoy eating tapas everyday in Barcelona?

    Kornheiser is a tool
  10. Motterman

    Motterman Member

    Jul 8, 2002
    Orlando, FL
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Not the same play. It was earlier. Maybe that's what the stamp was for though.... :)
  11. simmer down

    simmer down New Member

    Aug 6, 2002
    Actually the MLS and the NBA draw similiar numbers and the NBA is in decline while the MLS has a minute increase annually.
  12. crestuden

    crestuden New Member

    Apr 5, 2001
    Basketball will never surpass soccer as the world sport, but someday in the future you could see some European and South American teams on equal footing or just below NBA teams as far as talent and wealth.

    My question is which will come first MLS catching up to Europe and South American leagues or European and South American leagues teams catching up to the NBA?
  13. Treetaliano

    Treetaliano Member

    Jun 29, 2002
    San Diego
    And even this isnt nescessarily true. There are several MLS teams that outdrew NBA teams last year.

    Cleveland 14,539
    Golden State 14,467
    Memphis 14,415
    New Jersey 13,760
    Atlanta 12,344
    Houston 11,737
    Charlotte 11,286

    And USMNT matches not played in Los Angeles nearly always get 35K+
  14. Loz.

    Loz. New Member

    Apr 1, 2002
    Whereas baseball games just FEEL like they last for days.
  15. BackOtheNet!

    BackOtheNet! New Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    So Cal
    kornholer is an idiot. I wonder how the rest of the world stacks up against our growing freakish 7 footer population. Hell youth soccer in this country is already bigger than football, baseball, basketball and hockey combined. I know damn well kids in other countries are not going to quit playing footie to shoot hoops. Ain't gonna happen!
  16. total_football

    total_football Member+

    Apr 2, 2002
    Arsenal FC
    Dude, I agree with your assessment of the sports, but could you ease up on the racially-based banter, a bit???
  17. PAW

    PAW New Member

    Aug 27, 1999
    Ijamsville MD
    Tony, who has not been to Europe since the Barcelona Olympics, is the best person I can think of to proclaim how much hoops is growing abroad. How classic, he's so edgy.
  18. ATrain

    ATrain New Member

    Dec 28, 1998
    some of you need to remove your hexagonally shaped soccer ball goggles...I think his point was - IN THE FUTURE - basketball will take over as the #1 international sport. Calling out the attendance at last night's MEANINGLESS US- Arg. game (no affect on medal round) and relating it to the potential world-wide appeal of intl. b-ball is about as justified as using US Open Cup attendance figures to prove that soccer won't last in the US.

    I've thought all along that the international aspect of US sports is the thing that was lacking. Soccer is on top because EVERYONE plays it and watches it, and there are many countries who could claim to have top tier competitive teams. No other US sport can claim that. Baseball? maybe latin america, but Eurpean teams?? Football - not even close. Hockey - not until countries below the mason-dixon line start palying too. Basketball is becoming that popular world-wide, and if the US starts to take intl. play seriously with Cup championships and Club championships, and FIBA gets it's act together...then yes, I agree, someday Basketball may rival Soccer's popularity.
  19. JRstriker12

    JRstriker12 New Member

    Jan 27, 2002
    Falls Church, VA
    I'm just curious how long Tony thinks it will take B-ball to take over the world.

    I could see B-ball coming close possibly, but don't think it will eclipse soccer anytime soon.

    Also, don't you think b-ball has to overcome some of the insurmountable cultural barriers to becoming the #1 sport in other countries, such as soccer as being entrenched in the cultural fabric of other counties way longer than B-ball have even been played in the US?

    He's also ignoring the World Cup, which has a heritage and prestige that no b-ball tournament can touch. IMHO only the Olympics comes close.

    Also think the economics argument is hard to make, as I don't think most NBA fans will pay to watch teams from anywhere else, whereas soccer is doing okay without a huge American audience.

    I would even argue that the NBA would find it in their best interest to monopolize rather than share the spotlight with other professional b-ball leagues and lose their status as the best basketball league in the world.

    I like Basketball, but I can't see it taking over soccer anytime soon.

    Just my two cents.
  20. I've been to Europe, Asia, and South America. Everyplace I went soccer was played at all levels throughout the countries I was in. Basketball was merely a blip on the radar in all places. Tony is just saying this because he despises soccer so much, he would love for basketball to take over for soccer. And his claim that it is not popular in US, thats a very inaccurate statement. The sport has grown exponentially in just the last 10 years. MLS averages over 15k, the National team regularly plays in front of big crowds, and the world cup got very respectable ratings. Sorry Tony but your dead wrong.
  21. eric515

    eric515 Member

    May 8, 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    Aston Villa FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yes, he is, but Kobe might not be so opposed to living in Europe (purely hypothetical) he did spend the first 13 years of his life in Italy.

    As for European teams being viable, if you consider how many Europeans are now in the NBA, it is not out of the realm of possibility that those players' desire to be closer to home would shore up those teams...

    Anyway, when you have wildly popular soccer leagues in so many countries, it is absurd to think that one league, the NBA, could supplant nearly a century of tradition.
  22. DC Forever

    DC Forever New Member

    Mar 26, 2001
    Rockville, MD

    I think we can stick up for our game without misusing statistics as obviously as this argument does. Yes, the per-game attendence is competitive. But the basketball season is 82 games long -- more than 3 times the length of the MLS season. The NBA's 29 franchises are almost 3 times as many as MLS. TV hoops ratings are down significantly, but there's still no comparison. And we haven't even mentioned the NCAA.

    I love soccer, and I believe the sport's economic future in this country is reasonably bright. But let's not delude ourselves into thinking that its popularity today is anywhere near that of basketball.

    Besides which, on the original question, am I the only one who thinks that the growing internationalization of baskeball could be a good thing for soccer's stateside popularity? As someone who is much more a fan of soccer than of pro basketball, I think I'm more attuned than most to the World Basketball Championships because I can relate to that kind of competition from experience with my primary sports interest. It could easily work in the other direction if U.S. basketball fans get used to having a national team that plays in various competitions, club teams that care about more than just one domestic league, etc.

    Anyone agree?
  23. Casper

    Casper Member+

    Mar 30, 2001
    New York
    Of course, we can also refute one another's arguments without misusing math.

    82 games / 28 games = 2.928, or less than 3 times the length of the MLS season, not more than three times.
  24. RichardL

    RichardL BigSoccer Supporter

    May 2, 2001
    Reading FC
    Nat'l Team:
    I have to say that in Britain, Basketball is a very minor sport. Kids do play the game but there's incredibly limited interest in the NBA, let alone the British league. The British team is comprised mainly of American players who now have British passports. Britain isn't Europe though, so attitudes in other countries could be different.
    It is wrong though to say that the sport is growing in the Baltic states, it has always been a popular sport in that region. It is apparently growing in Greece though, but then again Greece has always been relatively poor in Soccer terms (only 1 world cup appearance ever I think).
    Without getting into racial issues, the comparatively tiny black population in Europe also limits the amount of players who, even if they had the ability, would be tall enough to play in the NBA.
  25. BackOtheNet!

    BackOtheNet! New Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    So Cal
    If you mean racial by the ftgbm's sentence i understand. But I don't think of that as racial, I think of it more as the attitude of the players that now dominate the sport of basketball. No matter what color they are. And I don't think that attitude is a racial thing.

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