Game 2 of the Philadelphia 76ers vs. the Boston Celtics on TNT received a brief shot of life when it was announced that 2023 NBA MVP Joel Embiid was returning to the floor. He was ready to play after suffering a knee sprain that was more serious than viewers were led to believe, and is ready to go after nearly two weeks. The 76ers held on in the first half, but the expected result took shape in the second as the Celtics won 121-87. What was unexpected was the drone that was hovering around the TD Garden court like a pigeon.
First it was Dr. Pimple Popper, now this
NBA, enough with the in-game surprises. It was bad enough when throbbing masses of puss were thrust into my face sans warning with those Dr. Pimple Popper commercials. Actually, that was by far the worst part of the playoffs, and thank goodness those were done away with quickly.
Still, to be watching an indoor sporting event and see a drone hanging over the painted area, looked a bit apocalyptic. At least those NFL cameras are on strings as they are launched all over the stadium to get 360-degree views. One moment I’m watching Al Horford back down P.J. Tucker and the next a full metal bug comes streaking across my television screen. I understand everything that comes into an NBA arena goes through a security screening, but as a child who grew up watching Independence Day and Mars Attacks, it’s hard to not picture a laser disintegrating one of the hoops.
The drone didn’t enhance anything
On top of a machine flying over a basketball court being startling, the picture that it provided was unimpressive. When TNT switched to the view from the drone I felt like I was working on a special ops mission in Call of Duty. That view was not aesthetically pleasing. It didn’t bring me closer to the floor. It had me looking down at the court from a Universal Studios ride. Adam Silver get me off of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. I am completely satisfied with the standard view that the usual cameras and my high-definition television provide.
Every single aspect of the viewing experience does not need to be tinkered with. I don’t need the camera angle during big NFL and College Football games that swirl around the offense when they huddle. The play call can’t be heard so what is the point of being that close?
I also don’t need the view from a drone camera that looks close enough to the court that it can be taken out by a deflected pass. The 24-second clock in the free-throw arc was already excessive. The athletes provide all of the necessary special effects. Viewers don’t need anything artificial.
Just make the games as painless to watch as possible, NBA. I navigate city traffic every day as it is, which provides enough daily surprises for a lifetime. I can do without alien spacecraft-looking devices circling basketball courts.