The biggest problem I have with the NBA today is that there is no apparatus forcing NBA players to explain their petty dramas to each other in front of a live audience.
Yes, there are press conferences, and the occasional longform interview, shot tight around the face under soft lighting, but that’s not enough.
The NBA needs Andy Cohen, the reflexively adorable 49-year-old Bravo executive and St. Louis Cardinals fan who is best known as the mastermind behind the Real Housewives series, and the host of Watch What Happens Live.
On the surface, the NBA and the Real Housewives have nothing in common. The surging popularity of one of them depends on an unending stream of passive-aggressive slights, petty arguments, and dramatic misunderstandings, and the other is the Real Housewives, where cartoonish women regularly accuse each other of being prostitutes and drug addicts, and then must hash it all out in reunion shows in which Cohen plays the moderator/instigator.
You can’t tell me NBA fans wouldn’t watch Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook get the Cohen treatment for an hour.
Those two are the best candidates for the first reunion show. This is a pair of grown men who are not above using their outfits to send passive-aggressive messages to each other.
Durant, it appears, has at least one sock account on Twitter, which the Finals MVP uses to anonymously defend himself against the haters.
But it is not just these two. According to my analytics, 100 percent of NBA stories now concern interpersonal dramas that could easily slide into the Bravo lineup without changing any of the participants or details.
LA rookie D’Angelo Russell ‘secretly’ recorded teammate Nick Young talking about the women he’s cheated on his fiancee, Iggy Azalea, with, and now that the tape has become public, his teammates are freezing him out.
There are NBA reporters with access to these players, and beat writers do increasingly (and reluctantly) cover these things. But the beat writing community — speaking as a former beat writer, here — is not, generally speaking, fluent in drama, or interested in becoming so. And basketball bloggers just want to be left alone with their shot charts and decimal points.
The NBA media are not well equipped to cover what the NBA has become, and it’s time to send in a professional.We need an NBA show hosted by Andy Cohen.