Now that he's retired, Kobe Bryant has been more open with his opinions on the NBA. Bryant revealed that he believes the NBA season is too long, with the reason being that a longer season leads to a higher chance of injury for players.
This seems true enough since today's players are seemingly injured more often than stars in the past. The aggressive, competitive nature of the game at the professional level sets up players for a high risk of getting hurt with the constant play that they go through.
Obviously, after going through 20 years in the NBA, Bryant knows exactly what he is talking about. After all, the future Hall of Famer has experienced catastrophic injuries himself which costed him over 200 games in his career; games that could have helped him surpass various NBA record rankings as well as win more championships.
Furthermore, ESPN's Baxter Holmes and Tom Haberstroh found in a report published Tuesday that there were 61 games this postseason missed by players in their teams' top seven in minutes per game, which is the highest total in the past two decades, and the playoffs are not even over yet. The solution is for the NBA to consider shortening the season, but this will not be an easy task.
When Bryant was asked for his thoughts on a solution, he responds:
“You shorten the games, you shorten the risk for injury and things of that nature. It definitely helps. You can't [just] lose five to 10 games, […] if you're going to do it, you've almost got to go quality versus quantity. If you're going to shorten the schedule, then you've got to shorten the schedule and look to enhance your TV numbers substantially … because now every regular-season game is worth a s—. “
It's simple, less games puts less strain on players, which lowers the risk for injury. Although the solution is apparent, it is definitely easier said than done.
Bryant and Nowitzki both acknowledge the challenges such a proposal would bring. The league could not just cut the number of games in the season. This would cost the NBA a lot of money and could lead to lower salaries for players, coaches, and owners alike, which some may not be willing to live with. There would have to be a way to recoup the losses if the NBA attempts to avoid asking everyone to take pay cuts.
Bryant suggests making each game more memorable, similar to the NFL's approach, which sounds like a good idea to increase revenue:
We can give the fans a greater show, […] If guys were able to get more rest and were healthier and all this other stuff, you wouldn't have players sitting out games, back-to-backs and all this other s—. So everyone would get a maximum performance because players would be extremely well-rested and coming in looking to kick ass every single night and looking to put on a show for (the fans) every single night.”
However, he understands the financial aspect of the proposal and that it is why the format of the NBA season might not change anytime soon.
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