I started reading Bill Simmons’ The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guys. It’s interesting but also not very interesting – I mean, I am piqued by the concepts he suggests, but not so motivated to read about all the basketball stories that he uses to illustrate his points. I’ll probably get tired of it and quit reading it.
But early in the book, there are a couple of points that kick around my head. First is his claim that sports is interesting because of the unknown element. This makes a lot of sense, in fact a few days prior, I also came across this link saying that it is almost entirely uninteresting to view a replay of a sports event because although you may not know the specific outcome, you know that no (super!)-heroic event took place. However, when you’re watching a live event, there is always a chance of a ridiculous play happening which is why real-time sports is exciting.
The second point is that The Secret of winning a basketball championship is basically assembling a team of team players (although that needs to include an elite star, a co-star and supporting cast members). But I got to thinking why being a team player is so important in basketball vs the other major sports (baseball, football, etc). Immediately I thought about hockey, which is also a strong team game, but I think it’s different because 20 people on a team participate in a game of hockey (and the minutes are not heavily weighted to certain players), so at any given moment the players on the ice are different. Meanwhile in basketball, a large portion of the game will be played by the 5 starters and so their chemistry and cohesiveness can greatly affect the success of the team.