It is a curious thing, this NBA of ours.
On one hand, it seemingly is all about the marketing, the highlight mixes, the creation of a cult of personality.
On the other hand, there has to be structure, order, decorum.
Or so the league now says, with the new edict that players must be ready for the opening tip within 90 seconds of the end of introductions.
On one hand, it all has gotten a bit much, and for more than jumping chest bumps at the scorers’ table, teammates falling down like bowling pins, the slapping of every hand of every statistician on press row (including the supposedly neutral timers), and, yes, even the powder tosses.
Ninety seconds certainly is long enough to complete just about any reasonable pregame ritual, including Dwyane Wade dunking his head upwards through the rim and then turning in all four directions to salute the fans.
But once the fun police enter the building, as the NFL has learned, they tend to stick around.
It seemed as if we had moved beyond the NBA’s fashion police, and what constitutes dress jeans.
And, yes, we still have players forced to watch from the locker room when deactivated without a suitable sports coat on hand (although teams now stock them just like those uppity restaurants with their pilled blazers).
But it’s not as if 90 seconds after introductions fans are seated, ready to go. With the increase of lounges around the league, some barely make it to their seats by the end of the first quarter, leaving late in the second period to be at the front of the line at the bar.
If loosely enforced, fine. Television, after all, pays the freight and their formats have to have some semblance of timing.
But how many times does that extra pregame television feature bump into the start of the game anyway?
Beyond that, the introductions, themselves, have gotten over the top. Before a playoff game or a Finals moment? Fine. But high drama before Game No. 38 in January against the Kings? Yawn.
Basketball players embracing the joy of the sport should be welcomed.
Their individual moments should be embraced.
Even the ones that last 91 seconds.