Once I actually enjoyed basketball - professional and college. Now I don't watch either although I did suffer through my loved Georgia Bulldogs squeaking one out against the once hated Georgia Tech North Avenue Trade School. Did I say suffer a victory? Yes. It pains me to watch what now passes for basketball. It is mostly one on one clear out drive the lane try to dunk and get on Sports Center. I hate all the tattoos as well. Why these kids glorify prison culture is beyond me. Georgia and Georgia Tech both shot less than 30 percent from 3 point range - yet they kept shooting. Neither could shoot free throws - Georgia missing two at the end that could have put the game away. It was a parody of what was once a beautiful game - look at the old film of John Wooden's UCLA teams to see what I mean.I was wondering if you recruited a team that could actually shoot rather than just dunk would you have more success? The answer is obviously yes - as Butler and Duke in last year's championship game attests. Few few tattoos, great teamwork, no poster dunks and no beating one's own chest - another thing I hate about today's sports. Of course the pro game is worse. Virtually everyone is covered with tattoos, has pierced ears, goes one on one and can't shoot. By the way, would you please explain to me why a dark skinned black guy would get a tattoo? It looks like his arm is dirty and he just needs a bath. I bet Red Auerbach's Boston Celtics could beat any of today's teams. The only throwback team is the San Antonio Spurs. You have got to have loved David Robinson and now his somewhat fading successor Tim Duncan - although even Duncan has a tattoo peaking out of the back of his jersey. So if there is nothing better to do - and I mean nothing - I will turn on a game and pull for the team that looks the most human. However it is generally the case that I can't stand what is now a caricature of a once great game played by incredibly athletic people who somehow can only shoot 50 percent from the free throw line. One person I know and respect and his wife have left the men's game and have become huge Lady Vol fans buying season tickets, going to big road games and always going to the championship tournament. They say that the women's game is like basketball once was with passing, teamwork, team defense, few tattoos and less bravado. That may be true but even in the land of truly great women's basketball I cannot look at it. They may be better shooters but ironically they miss too many layups and are less athletic than the men. So I guess I will just suffer withdrawal until catchers and pitchers report for baseball's spring training.
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com