Saturday, June 2, 2012

Why Hockey is Better Than Basketball

 Come visit me at my new home, 

I had the displeasure of flipping on the only meaningful sporting event on television Thursday night.  I wasted 5 minutes of my life watching Game 3 of the San Antonio Spurs-Oklahoma City Thunder Western Conference Finals series.  For the uninformed, that’s basketball.  Yes, there are professional teams in San Antonio and Oklahoma City.  There are no direct flights into these cities from major airport hubs, but they do have the NBA, and I guess that’s “fan-tastic” for them. 

Given the talk radio hype surrounding the series, this was supposed to be the best of what the sport has to offer.  Aging veteran team versus the young and exciting up-and-comers; first ballot Hall of Fame center Tim Duncan, scoring phenom Kevin Durant, and Eva Longoria’s former husband Tony Parker all at the peak of their skills.  I thought it was worth seeing what all the buzz was about. 

If that was as good as it gets, I’ll stick with Seinfeld reruns.  The NBA playoffs is the original “show about nothing”.

Five minutes of playoff basketball reminded me of all the reasons that hockey is better.  It’s no secret that I love hockey, but I have legitimate arguments that defend its superiority.  Sure, both sports have over-expanded and diluted their product.  Both sports have unpopular commissioners, have survived recent labor unrest and suffer from inconsistency in applying player suspensions.  On balance, though, hockey offers the better entertainment value, and on this, there can be no doubt.  

Top Ten Reasons that Hockey is Better Than Basketball:

10.          Hockey is played on ice, and that gives it a ‘cool’ factor that a sweaty basketball game can never duplicate.

9.            Basketball has overtime; hockey has sudden death.  With a sudden death format, you cannot take your eyes off of the game, even for a moment.  The NHL doesn’t even run commercials during its overtime periods.  It is 100% hockey.  In a basketball overtime, you can flip channels, make a sandwich, and visit the facilities and be back in time for the final minute, the only one that really matters.

8.            Basketball players have their bodies covered in tattoos; hockey players have their bodies covered in scars.  Tattoo scream “fashion statement!”  Scars scream “I will do anything to beat you!”  That’s the essence of sports.

7.            Basketball features free throws; hockey has power plays.  Free throws are uncontested and are taken while both teams stand and rest.  Power plays represent near-constant action and opportunity.  Even if a penalty shot is given, the goalie still is allowed to defend the goal.  In basketball, you are not allowed to defend against the free throw.  Fouls in basketball slow the game; penalties in hockey speed the action. 
6.            Basketball has a championship rings; hockey has The Cup.  Championship rings can be auctioned off on eBay once the former NBA player declares bankruptcy and can no longer pay court ordered child support.  Once a hockey player’s name is etch on Lord Stanley’s Cup, it is there forever, enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Rings can be sold; your name on The Cup is immortality.

5.            Basketball has LeBron James; hockey does not.

4.            Basketball is fixed like professional wrestling; hockey is not.  Don’t believe me?  Tim Donaghy was convicted of fixing NBA games back in 2007.  He worked in the NBA as a referee for 13 seasons.  Chris Paul does not play for the Lakers.  Look it up to find out how the league finagled that non-transaction.  The last 8 Stanley Cup winners are all different franchises – no dynasties.  Big markets, small markets, Original 6 teams and expansion clubs -no discernible pattern (of course, Flyer fans think every year that they don’t win the Cup is a conspiracy).

3.            Basketball has points and assists as separate categories; hockey combines goals and assists into one statistic – total points.  In hockey, goals and assists are equal in value to an individual’s statistics, emphasizing how valued teamwork is in the game.  Basketball is played with 5 players, but it is dominated by a culture of individualism.  The tracking of points reflects that.

2.            In basketball, the championship is never won by a low seeded team; in hockey, you never know when the playoffs begin who will win the final game of the season.  That uncertainty makes every game, every series, worth investing in.  Was there much doubt that the Heat would be in the Conference Finals?   The Thunder?  Didn’t think so.

And the Number One Reason Hockey is Better Than Basketball:

1.       I can’t play basketball to save my life, but I had 4 pretty goals in a rout Thursday night playing hockey.  I rest my case.
Did I mention the 20 time outs in the final 90 seconds of every basketball game?  A wise man once said that given only one minute to live, he’d hoped it would be a Dean Smith minute, since those can last forever.  Like I said, he was wise.

The only counter-argument against hockey being the superior sport is that it attracts fans like this guy from Pittsburgh:


A fan is suing the owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins because the team sent him more text alerts than he agreed to in the terms and conditions.

The class-action lawsuit says the team violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits unsolicited text messages, because the Penguins website said subscribers would receive no more than three texts a weeks about breaking news.

The plaintiff alleges in the complaint that he received about five texts from the team in the first week and four in the second week
The lawsuit says members of the class were "subjected to the aggravation that necessarily accompanies the invasion of privacy caused by unsolicited text message calls" and "also because consumers frequently have to pay their cellphone service providers for the receipt of such wireless calls."

The suit asks the court for unspecified damages and an injunction to keep the team from texting more than three times a week.

Hockey fans – don’t cross us.  We’ll sue, then kick your ass. (then again, this loser is a Penguins fan...)


  1. I couldn't agree more! Big UNH and Bruins fans up here in New Hampshire

  2. hockey is the best. end of discussion