Scandals Have Turned a Great NBA Playoffs Into a Sideshow

With all the scandals, smokescreens, and personnel changes in professional basketball, it’s easy to forget there’s some great basketball being played.

Last night the Brooklyn Nets battled the Miami Heat until LeBron and Co. finally wore them down and won 96-94 to take the series. On the other side of the country, the San Antonio juggernaut made short work of the Portland Trailblazers. But when we picked up the Daily News this morning, were we greeted with a picture of a thunderous LeBron James jam? No. Instead, there’s a full-page photo of—who else?—Steve Kerr, who had been in a prolonged flirtation with the New York Knicks for the vacant head coach position. Is it news? Sure. Is it the news? Not even close.

Now look at tonight’s Game 6 in an epic series between the L.A. Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Try and google L.A. Clippers and the first thing to come up is a picture of poor Magic Johnson, who’s responding to insulting remarks from the Clippers’ embattled owner, Donald Sterling. Between the revelation of yet another surreptitious recording of Sterling (this time by a rapper named Maserati), and a foolish interview with Anderson Cooper, this bum just won’t go away. Which brings us back to LeBron. He scored 29 points last night in the clincher against the Nets, but the bigger news the past day has been that he said he’d boycott the NBA next year if Sterling wasn’t completely out of the NBA. Or actually he didn’t say that. An overzealous Players Association rep kind of put the words in King James’ mouth, then backtracked. Ugh.

We understand there are issues off the basketball court. But there’s been some terrific hoops in these playoffs, and sometimes it nice just to kick back with a cold one and enjoy what’s happening ON the court. Clippers-Thunder tonight at 10:30 Eastern, after the Pacers try to close out the Wizards at 8. See you there. 

Photos by Streeter Lecka / Getty Images