In the Long run: It’s a hooper’s world

Baseball has officially been in the rearview mirror of America for some time now. Today, many consider football to be America’s sport, but I don’t buy it. To me, America’s sport was created in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith. Basketball.

Basketball currently sits as America’s second-most-watched sport behind football. Being the second-most-watched sport in the country isn’t something to look down on or anything, but many of you may wonder how I could consider giving the label of “America’s” sport to any sport but the most-watched one. Hear me out.

Football may be the king of viewership now, but it’s on its way down. Last year’s Super Bowl had the least views since 2009 according to the Wall Street Journal. Plus, since 2015, viewership in the NFL has continued to decline every year up to this season, which has experienced a 3 percent jump.

What turns me and many others off about the NFL is issues between the players and the organization. First, there’s the way the league handled the Colin Kaepernick situation, which was, in short, not well. The man was courageously exercising his rights and has been shunned out of the league. With that kind of treatment of a person exercising their First Amendment rights as an American, I don’t see how the NFL can be seen as America’s sport. It’s literally un-American.

There are also incidents within the NFL with dissatisfied players. Some players, like Le’Veon Bell, are so unhappy with how they’re being handled by their teams that they refuse to play. Bell actually missed an entire season because he and his former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, couldn’t come to an agreement on his contract. If the NFL can’t even keep it’s players happy, it can’t expect to keep it’s viewers happy too.

While the NFL has been struggling with these issues and more of their viewers have been disappearing, the NBA has grown in viewers. An interesting fact, according to Forbes, is the average NBA fan is eight years younger than the average NFL fan. To me, this shows how basketball is more of a young person’s sport. In fact, according to ESPN, basketball is the top sport among America’s youth, America’s future.

I think the reasons for that is just the nature of the sport. Basketball and the culture surrounding it is electrifying and as hyped as could be, especially in today’s world, where it always seems like the sickest basketball plays by high schoolers, college players and pros are being thrown in your face on social media. Basketball is a loud sport. Louder than all the rest, which is why I consider it to be America’s sport.

It also has the biggest impact on American culture, especially in the youth. The way basketball stars impact rap music, the most popular music genre in our generation, is huge. Basketball stars are name dropped in countless rap songs, and for some reason, that line can make the song 10 times harder. Heck, one of the most hyped songs right now that we all know is “Mo Bamba” by Sheck Wes, is literally named after Orlando Magic’s rookie big man, and is almost a tribute to him.

Basketball’s impact on fashion is insane too. The tunnels in every stadium and fieldhouse have turned into a runway for professional players, where they can show off their drippiest outfits to the world of photographers ready to publish their photos all over social media. Plus, their shoes have taken over. Ever since Michael Jordan made wearing a basketball shoe for everyday purposes a big thing, they’ve exploded and allowed people to express themselves through their footwear.

Basketball’s cultural impact has grabbed the youth and sucked us into it’s exciting vortex. If you don’t see it as America’s sport now, just wait. You’ll see a few years down the road how amazing this game is.