To Fans, Entertainment Trumps Competition

To Fans, Entertainment Trumps Competition

Last week, the Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs 105-100 in a nationally televised game that people argued over more than they watched. It spawned one of those temporary controversies we need in order to sustain a 24-hour news cycle: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich elected to not dress four of his best players (Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Danny Green) so that they could rest their legs at the end of a four-game, five-night road trip. This outraged NBA commissioner David Stern, who fined the club $250,000 for committing a "disservice to the league and our fans." The initial debate was straightforward: Is it acceptable for the commissioner to penalize a coach for not playing the players fans want to see? People and pundits1 were split. And once that split occurred, a bunch of not-so-meaningful mini-arguments were forwarded within the court of public opinion.

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