Despite an exciting playoffs to end last season and a young generation of stars, the huge strides the NBA made in growing the popularity of the league seems to have collapsed so far in the 2012-2013 season and there is one obvious reason: the retirement of Brian Scalabrine.
"This is exactly the same thing we saw when Michael Jordan left the league," said commissioner David Stern. "We have a great product, but the casual fans turn away when a sport's biggest star, in the case of Michael, or its biggest punchline, in the case of Brian, step away. It takes time to get that audience back."
The 11-year NBA veteran says he agonized over his decision.
"I know I still have what it takes on the court to make people laugh," said Scalabrine. "In fact, I think my game is as comical as ever. But what else is there really I can accomplish? Who hasn't dunked on me? What awkward post move have I not done? Sometimes you have to say 'Enough' and let your body of hilarious work speak for itself. If people need me to cheer them up, get an NBA bloopers DVD or just search for me on YouTube."
Scalabrine hopes casual fans will soon turn back to the NBA.
"Hey, it's flattering that people miss watching you do your thing for the final two minutes of blowouts," he said. "But I want my fans to know that if you like bad basketball, if you like no athleticism, there is still plenty out there. Have you seen the Pistons? They're like an entire team of me."
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