Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 31, 2006
BASKETBALL: Don't Try This At Home

Now, I'm certainly not a proponent of strangling every advertisement that could possibly be imitated by someone stupid, but Giacomo at Joust the Facts notes a Nike ad (which I haven't seen) that seems pretty likely to be imitated by young boys with ghastly results.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:45 PM | Basketball | Comments (10) | TrackBack (1)


You say you're not "a proponent of strangling every advertisement that could possibly be imitated by someone stupid." Ok. But are you a proponent of strangling this ad?

Posted by: Mike at February 1, 2006 5:53 AM

The basketball industry is shameful. The Washington Post is running a series of articles on basketball in America. Holds out the possibility, anyway, of exposing the exploitation and manipulation that goes on at very junior levels of play. The basketball industry, taking its cue from David Stern, who sanctified Michael Jordan, contributes to the a myriad of social ills in this country- teen pregnancy to educational drop out rates to drug abuse, eg- through its relentless glorification of marginally sociable people who, oh yeah, can put a ball through a hoop. Once in a while, anyway. Poor quality of the game is a separate, and ultimately less serious, issue but it too can be traced to the explosion of the basketball industry. That ad is an example of how irresponsible the industry is. Football and baseball have their share of knuckleheads, on the field and in management, but as industries they're not nearly as cynical and unsocial as those in basketball.

Posted by: seamus at February 1, 2006 7:29 AM

I agree with you 100%, Seamus. For many reasons, I find the NBA unwatchable (though I admit I enjoy reading Simmons discuss a sport I never watch!).

But what are we gonna do about it? Surely you're not advocating legislation or other similar action regarding advertisements?

Posted by: Mike at February 1, 2006 8:30 AM

Why ban the ads when you can ban the sport?

Posted by: abe shorey at February 1, 2006 8:41 AM

Mike - I see no reason why Nike can't be shamed into pulling it.

Posted by: The Crank at February 1, 2006 9:28 AM


Ok. Shaming is fine. I thought you were advocating something a bit more "official."

Posted by: Mike at February 1, 2006 9:48 AM

Abysmal ratings don't seem to be killing the NBA. Its powers that be seem to have decided that niche marketing can keep it afloat until the next Jordan appears w/ mass appeal. LeBron's the hope, I guess. Won't happen in Cleveland, if it happens at all, which is why he'll be a Kniock inside of 3 years. But that decision justifies and perpetuates stereotypes, contributes to delusions of grandeur, and generally impoverishes- if it doesn't brutalize- the culture of the niche its catering to. Nike, ESPN- incl Simmons who, lets face it, is valuable to ESPN primarily as an NBA conduit to lukewarm, non-niche types- no less than the NBA itself are responsible for this. Legislate against it? No. Ignore its product and shame its exploits? Yes.

Posted by: seamus at February 1, 2006 10:17 AM

Come on now. Kids do stupid stuff all the time. I used to do the same thing and surprisingly I never get injured. We used a trampoline too...not one broken bone or sprained joint. Why is everyone insisting on overprotecting kids? Let them make mistakes. It builds character and maybe they'll learn some common sense(which is seriously lacking these days). Don't get me wrong, I don't like kids to get hurt, but does putting them in a bubble help them become responsible adults? Maybe engaging conversation with your children instead of letting them be babysat by Nike commercials will lead to better outcomes.

Posted by: Nate at February 1, 2006 10:32 AM

The ad is stupid, and Nike is an abuser. However, I don't care if they pull the ad or not. I do a lot of woodworking, and have lots of sharp tools. Also power tools. I taught my kids how to think in a safe and sane manner. I don't lock the tools up, I expect them to deal with them properly (now they are older, so I am more worried about them driving, which is another issue). I have a ladder, I keep it safe, I have taught them to think hopefully safely. Yes they will do stupid things, but then the real problem is those parents who don't watch or actually raise their kids will then blame Nike or the ladder ocmpany (you wouldn't believe the insurance rates for ladder companies--look at all teh safety stickers on them).

It's like those kids lying down in the road after that college football movie, I think it was called The Program. Anyway, my view was what Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle said: Think if it as evolution in action.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at February 2, 2006 10:47 AM

What a bunch of crap. Do you think Vince Carter as a kid needed to see an ad to figure out that if you are too short to dunk getting a ladder (or table, trampoline, parents' car, etc.) to get you closer to the rim works? I dunked off of all those items until I could do it for real. Pretty much every kid who has every dribbled a basketball has figured out some way to dunk that involved some sort of less than safe high wire act. An ad does not change that. This is media imitating (or representing) life, not the other way around.

Perhaps Nike will get sued by some kid who gets hurt doing something in the vein of that. That is their business. I guarantee the ad did not inspire the behavior. This goes into the same stupid category with rock music (or grunge, or metal, or speed metal or whatever sort of music you dislike) leading to anti-social behavior.

Posted by: jim at February 2, 2006 1:40 PM
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