Yes, David Stern is a genius. Yes, more people call him a genius than have ever called me a genius (even jokingly). But I have some ideas for Mr. Stern and the players union. They can take the already good product, and make it great for everyone.
1. Increase the integrity. Test every player for everything. Do a sample of players, I don’t care, but test for every banned substance in season and off season. Do the same for referees. For referees, or players, that bet on NBA games, banish them for life, no exceptions, even if it is not on their team or a game they were playing/officiating in.
2. Give referees employee reviews. Maybe they have them, but if so, they need better ones. Listen to Cuban on this. Inconsistency in game-calling takes the attention off the game, and only makes people frustrated. When your team is losing because of bad calls, that is a bad thing for the game.
3. Less is more. Cut down the season. 60 games and no more. Enough has already been said about this by others much smarter than me. Who cares about the scoring records. People care about the now. And if the NBA doesn’t, it will be irrelevant in a very short time.
4. Expand to the world. Don’t wait. Every year that goes by with the USA losing in international competition is another year where the rest of the world says, “Why do we NEED the NBA?” If you shorten the season, you have time to travel with more days in between games. Who cares about the arenas not being large enough in Europe. Small, packed out environments are better anyway.
5. Create game nights. Speaking of days in between games. Set NBA game nights, where there is a certain night of the week where every team plays. Lets say Tuesday night, or Thursday night. Just say something. Also, have one night set aside where no other teams play on that night. For research on this matter check out Monday Night Football.
6. Shorten the games. Why does the NBA feel like it needs to have such long games, to justify the ticket price? Shorten the games down to 40 minutes, along with reducing the number of games, and you will get more intense games, kind of like the thing everybody loves so much about college basketball.
7. Increase the age limit. Do not let players in the league unless they are 21 on draft night. I know this is something the NBA wants, but because of the union they have not been able to get. Let Oden and Durant dominate on the college level before they get stuck on a bad team in the NBA with little national coverage for years (unless you’re Lebron of course).
8. Fire the union. In order to get all of this done, you’ll have to fire the union. If the players want to strike, go and sign all of the players from Europe. They’ve proven to be as talented, and fans love the international players.
9. Serve the fan who gives nothing. Many of the biggest NBA fans will never pay for a ticket to go see a game. They may not have the money. Why is the NBA marketing department not caring a little more about them? Why don’t they require teams to have player days at malls, sports bars, and grills. There would be one player day a year, in which every player on every team would have to spend 3 hours meeting and talking with fans. Each player would go to a different venue in the area (mall, restaurant, sports bar). Trust me, the viral marketing you get by serving the fans who don’t go to the games would be worth it.
10. Hire Big D and Nate Dogg to do a podcast for you. That would win more fans than all of the above.