Professional Sports

SHAQ ON SPORTS: Watching the drama play out in the NBA

With only one game left and the National Football League season coming to an end, we will be directing most of our attention to the National Basketball Association.

If you have not been paying attention to the NBA so far, jumping on board now will have your mind all over the place.

In the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors are who we thought they were, still the team to beat in the NBA. The Oklahoma City Thunder have been on a roller coaster ride trying to get Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George all on the same page while playing on the same court.

The Houston Rockets are very good and surprisingly Chris Paul and James Harden got past that awkward stage really quickly and are playing well together with a balance that fits great for their team. The San Antonio Spurs are still in the mix but with their best player, Kawhi Leonard, battling injury, I wonder how deep into the playoffs can they actually go.

In the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers are always in the headlines. Though they are not the best team in the conference, they continue to stay in the minds of the media and everyone else.

Dealing with their very bad defense has led to finger pointing and blaming of teammates, as well as the controversy surrounding LeBron James and his relationship with the owner, Dan Gilbert.

The controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving demanding his trade and the Cavaliers ultimately granting that demand is still high on the news radar because Irving and the Boston Celtics are now the number one seed in the east. With the Celtics playing so well, it brings more talk that maybe the Cavaliers made a mistake in trading Irving.

Maybe all the things they are going through right now is a result of missing Irving and realizing just how great he was for that franchise. You also have the Toronto Raptors and how they feel they are not getting the respect they deserve from the media, even though they are currently the number two seed in the East.

The young players of the Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers are showing that their youthfulness is an advantage they intend on exploiting that advantage. The fans of the 76ers are finally able to see the process play out before their eyes and they have a look at how dominant their team can be when everyone is healthy.

Then you have the new way the All-Star Game will be played Feb. 18 at Staples Center. The traditional All-Star rules when the top players in the East played the top players in the West has been shelved. Now the all star teams will be chosen just like they do on the playgrounds: Two captains choose their team from all the players left. Now the East and the West has integrated so instead of Team East and Team West, you have Team Steph and Team LeBron.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with it as long as we can get a better played game as a result.

What the league should be focusing on getting better for the fans and viewers is the dunk contests. Some of the young players in the contest have been good but what happened to the superstars competing like in the 1990s.

How many people are still upset we never got to see LeBron James go up against Kobe Bryant in the dunk contest or just seeing James at all?

With the athleticism, power and strength he still possesses, he can still enter and we would be excited to see him. Unlike the dunk contest, we always get the best out of the three–point shooting contest. Having Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and some of the best three–point shooters compete was great.

We have to figure out a way to bring that excitement back.

Injuries to key players like, DeMarcus Cousins will continue to play a huge role in the product we see and with so much drama in the NBA, we can’t help but tune in and watch it all play out.

Shaquita Newton is a sports blogger. She can be reached at