There was no music, video, or in-game entertainment during the first half of Sunday’s Golden State Warriors-New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. The results of this experiment were astounding and suggest similar stunts will not follow.
It’s unclear what the Knicks were trying to accomplish. What is clear is that playing 24 minutes of basketball without loud noises and flashes of light emanating from every direction was a hardship severe enough to elicit some amazing quotes from Draymond Green:
“That was pathetic. It was ridiculous. It changed the flow of the game. It changed everything. You get used to playing a certain way. It completely changed it. To me, I think it was completely disrespectful to everyone from [NBA senior VP of entertainment and player marketing] Michael Levine to [Warriors president and COO] Rick Welts and all these people who’ve done these things to change the game from an entertainment perspective. [It] gives the game a great vibe. That’s complete disrespect. You advance things in the world to make it better. You don’t go back to what was bad. It’s like, computers can do anything for us. It’s like going back to paper. Why would you do that? So it was ridiculous.”
“Did you see that first half? It was just bad, sloppy, all over the place. There was no rhythm to the game. All this stuff makes a difference in a game, believe it or not. You get in a rhythm. … You turn on music, it just helps you get into a certain area, takes you to a certain place. I don’t think they were doing it to, like, throw us off, but it definitely threw the entire game off. They need to trash it. That’s exactly what they need to do.”
Now, let’s point out that Green is correct about the first half. The Knicks led, 50-49, after a wildly sloppy display. The fans, confused by the lack of stimulation, didn’t really know how to act. You won’t hear any argument that the experiment was a raging success.
At the same time, you read what Green said, and it sounds as if they took away three-point shots, didn’t allow the teams to warm up, or played make-it-take-it. You know, something totally against all norms.
His team won, by the way. Apparently, thanks to the presence of rhythmic beats played during the second half.
Look, let’s state the obvious. The NBA experience has been reliant on bells and whistles for decades. Taking away the soundtrack without warning had an impact. But at the same time, all of these guys have played countless hours of basketball in quiet gyms. Are they really so dependent on music to create energy?
It’s hard not to laugh at Green using words like “pathetic” and “ridiculous” and “disrespect” when his major claim to fame is wildly kicking opponents. It’s hard to take his suggestions that we should not regress seriously when he was, no less than a month ago, suggesting the world could be flat.
But, hey, maybe I’m not the NBA player. Perhaps my reaction, which is to read these eviscerating quotes as if they were a parody, shows my ignorance. Perhaps I’m not appreciative of just how transformative an event it can be when the music stops. Perhaps that’s why Rihanna is so adamant it never comes to that.
Anyway, kudos to members of both teams who make it through 24 minutes of unspeakable hell. Your heroism is noted, if not fully understood by the masses.