In a surprise announcement today, NBA commissioner David Stern announced that the long-time basketball league would cease operations at the end of the 2009 season.
The reason for the disbanding had nothing to do with the economy or the popularity of the game, according to Stern. "The plain fact is, today’s professionals are just too darn big to play basketball."
"I mean, let’s face it. There isn’t room for ten guys that size in a space that small. They can’t move."
Although the league had been dismissing criticism regarding the lack of finesse and ball movement for years, in the end it had to concede that no NBA player had actually been able to dribble, pass, run, or even jump for several years. The league had tried to open up the offensive game in recent seasons, first by changing the travelling rule to allow three steps, then four, five, and six, plus the extra two-footed triple jump allowed to selected stars; the decision to allow zone defense was actually an attempt to encourage defensive players to stand in one place with their hands in the air and thus open up the lanes for dribble penetration.
More recently the league considered changes to bring the old isolation play back to the forefront, but was unsure where to put the eight uninvolved players without significant modification to all existing arenas.
"It’s a sad day for everyone, for sure," said Stern. "But something had to be done. It was only a matter of time before a referee suffocated, or worse. Actually, we suspect that some of the smaller players stopped showing up years ago, but no one could see them anyway, so nobody noticed."
The only other option the league discussed was continuing operations, but without any actual games. "We thought about just having players and teams, and determining the results of the games with computers," said Stern. "But then we’d have to call it the BCS."