It is likely that you know someone who has been affected by the growing epidemic in America of watching NBA Summer League basketball games. Otherwise normal Americans who could be enjoying their summers are instead sitting inside viewing and live-tweeting exhibition basketball games like they are real games that mean something. It’s sad. And it’s a tragedy.
But there are things you can do to help these troubled souls and convince them there is more to life.
1. Don’t confront them while they’re watching Summer League basketball.
It is a bad idea to speak to your friend or family member while they are watching a Summer League game. They will not be of sound mind. They will be distracted by the game they are watching, the poorly-made memes they are creating, and the Twitter debates they are furiously engaged in about which 2017 draft picks project to NBA stardom based off of how they just performed against a guy who was playing in the Swiss league a week ago. Speaking to your love one during a Summer League game is hopeless. They will be so into their addiction that they will even choose to listen to the latest comments from Lonzo Ball’s dad over you.
2. Remind them how they got to this place.
One just doesn’t find themselves watching summer league basketball. It’s a slow and ugly process to reach this point in sports fandom. Spell out to them how it happened. They started out by watching big NBA games and the playoffs. Then that led to checking in on NBA games every night of the long, six-month regular season. Next it was caring about the opinions of Charles Barkley and Skip Bayless. And now, the lowest of the low: filling their summer evenings with draft picks and D-Leaguers, not a legit star to be found. Opening their eyes to their current reality, which came just a few steps away from a healthy relationship with basketball, can snap them out of their current destructive patterns.
3. Hit them with hard statistics.
Sometimes the harsh, cruel numbers can wake a person up to reality. Specifically: the reality that summer league means nothing. For example, let them know that Michael Jordan averaged just 8.7 ppg and shot 34% from the floor in the NBA summer league before his rookie year. Is that true? No. I mean, probably not. I don’t even think there was a summer league back then. But no one actually knows for sure because no one of healthy mind cares about who did what in summer league and would never bother to check.
4. Provide them with the names of organizations that can help them.
There are many organizations that can help a basketball fan who is struggling without the sport in the dead of summer. Some to check out are MLB, CFL, PGA, USTA, WTA and MLS, among others. While these organizations do not offer basketball, they do offer opportunities to watch high-level competition over the horrors of scrubbery found on a summer league court. And in less than two months, NFL will begin and that provides the option of watching many tight ends who used to play basketball. It’s the next best thing.
5. Give them drugs.
When a person is watching hours of summer league basketball, it’s a clear sign they need to have their mind opened up to new and different things. Both recreational and hardcore drugs are great ways to do this.
6. Let them know that there is a bright future.
Your loved one’s sad addiction to Summer League basketball started in an innocent place: with their love of the sport of basketball. So remind them that the actual NBA regular season is not too far off. The future is bright. The near future, in fact. In less than three months there will be NBA games that actually mean something. Your troubled friend just needs to make it until then.
Of course, I guess there’s a strong argument to be made that regular season games are meaningless, too, now that the Warriors will win every NBA title for the next 3-5 years. So who’s to say that Summer League games are any less pointless than NBA regular season games … not to mention all of the playoffs? The random scrubs on the Phoenix Suns summer league team have just a good a shot at winning the NBA title next year as LeBron and the Cavaliers do, if we’re being honest. So whatever. Screw it. Watch Summer League if you want. Or don’t. Nothing matters. We’re all zeroes and will easily be crushed by those in power. Fill your empty life with whatever makes you forget about the hopelessness that is everywhere around us. It’s that summer league NBA, then watch away.