Top News How the NBA’s Young Stars Are Saving the Image of the League


Remember when this team existed?

Appropriately known as the Portland “Jail Blazers,” their roster was chock full of players who preferred to damage their image, instead of attempting to be a positive role model through their positions as athletes who are watched by millions any given night.

Between 2000 and 2003, Ruben Patterson became a sex offender and Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire and Qyntel Woods all were caught with marijuana. It only got uglier, as Woods was fighting dogs in his house, teammates fought during practice and Bonzi Wells told the fans of the prestigious franchise that “they don’t matter.”

It takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch. Sure enough, this team gave the league a black eye. These professional sports leagues are supposed to be maintained as if they were businesses, yet there were employees from a branch in Portland that were alienating fans, getting into fights and causing havoc off the court.

Guys like Rasheed Wallace and Damon Stoudamire weren’t given lucrative contracts from their employer to simply play basketball. They were given the job because they were believed and trusted to be able to conduct themselves in a professional manner. They aren’t just basketball players, they are representatives of basketball being played by the world’s greatest at the highest level.

This doesn’t just apply to those Portland teams. It also applies to the players who instigate fights, give up on their team, take advantage of their power and all of those who do nothing other than perpetuate a bad image. When it comes to running a business, it’s the employees who are supposed to make the gears work and do so without a poor attitude.

Up until the past few years, the NBA had always received a bad rap.

Players were constantly getting into trouble over the offseason, especially with possession of that green substance all the kids are using these days. While it may be a minor offense to some, it’s not to a professional sports league that generates an absurd amount of money and has 30 locations in the United States and Canada.

As much criticism as David Stern receives, he’s done well at giving the NBA a better image over the past decade.

He instituted a dress code that prevented people like Allen Iverson from wearing this on the sideline and became a lot firmer on fighting, creating long-term suspensions for those who instigated and took part. We haven’t seen a brawl since the melee between New York and Denver.

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