Why The NBA Needs “Hard Knocks”

08.11.11 7 years ago 5 Comments
Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook

Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook (photo. Rob Hammer)

When Floyd Mayweather Jr. and “Sugar” Shane Mosley took center stage on HBO’s hit program “24/7”, they sat across a table from each other in a room that looked like one of the interrogation chambers from “Law and Order”. They bickered back and forth as Max Kellerman moderated:

Mosley: Remember at the Olympics at Turin, when you first was comin’ up, what were those words you said to me?

Mayweather: Whatever I said, I don’t remember. You can refresh my memory, but I still don’t remember.

Mosley: You said, “I think you’re a great fighter, and I want to be just like you when I get up in the ranks.”

Mayweather: Shane, I barely know who the f—k you are! What do you mean I wanna be just like you? How I wanna be like you. Come on, man. I’m the face of boxing. I’m the cash cow. I hold the record for Pay-Per-View. Me.

Real drama. HBO concocted a setting in which the brash, cocky Mayweather could tell the aging Mosley straight up: “I don’t give a crap about what you’ve done. I’m next. I’m coming to take your crown.” Of course, boxing is based off of this type of ridiculous pre-fight hi-jinx. For every big fight, the two fighters share a dicey press conference in which the underdog gives thanks for the opportunity and the favorite thanks the sponsors for the chance to earn more millions in a mop-up fight. Tempers then flare.

But HBO’s “24/7”, now in its 10th installment since 2007, has found a way to go beyond the press conference, and instead has taken you into the lives of these fighters as they train, prepare, and talk trash. Heck, we even got an inside glimpse of the glitzy Floyd Mayweather Gala as he squared off against his father in a dance off. Classic stuff.

Of course, the blueprint of this program was the hit show “Hard Knocks”, which originally aired leading up to the Baltimore Ravens’ 2001 season. But the formula may have been mastered with 24/7: The 2011 NHL Winter Classic, which took an inside look at the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals as they prepared for the biggest game of the regular season. Baseball even got into the act this summer with The Franchise: A Season with the San Francisco Giants and DJ3K, both gritty inside looks at the lives of baseball players. What if something like this existed for the NBA? Of course, NBA players seem to like and respect one another, but could you imagine if Durant could sit across a table from Dirk and say: “Move aside big guy, next year it’s my turn. I’m the man now.” Or what if we could watch LeBron trash talk Kobe as he tossed his 50-pound medicine ball of the wall? “I’m coming for you.”

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