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My beef with fantasy basketball

I have been playing fantasy basketball since my sophomore year of high school in 2007.

It was a love at first sight situation and from that first season I started, I have engulfed myself in the fantasy basketball world. During the NBA season I read almost every game log, scour individual players’ stats and read as many fantasy basketball articles as I can.

For those of you who don’t know, fantasy basketball is when you and a group of people in your league draft real NBA players before the season starts and compete with each other to see who can get the highest amount of of certain stats each week. For example, if I am playing my dad one week and his team collects 200 assists and I get 205, I win that category.

There are other ways to play fantasy basketball, which has different rules, but this is the case for the style I play.

In the league that I play in, there are nine categories and you try to win as many of them as possible.

I love fantasy basketball. It keeps me engaged with my favorite league — the NBA — and it’s a great way to stay in touch with friends that you wouldn’t usually text or call otherwise. It has given me a ton of enjoyment for the last ten years.

There are many things I love about fantasy basketball, but two specific things that I really have a problem with.

“Owning”

In almost every show, podcast or article out there that discusses fantasy basketball, you will see this term. When discussing individual players, comments like this are common:

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I get why the term is used. Sometimes information only pertains to people who have a specific player on their team.

So, why do I have such a problem with this word you ask?

“Someone who is legally owned by another person and is forced to work for that person without pay.”

That is the Webster dictionary’s definition for slave.

In a world where slavery is occurring at a higher rate than it ever has before in history, casual ideas that you could own someone in any way should not be accepted.

If people would just add the extra words and say things like, “if you have Chris Paul on your team,” the awkwardness of that word and it’s implications will be removed.

The word has always been used in fantasy basketball reporting, but steps like this need to be taken to remove it from fantasy vernacular. 

Injury Reporting

One major issue that has always been a factor in sports reporting is that sometimes fans don’t see professional athletes as people. It sometimes feels like we see these people as robots whose lives only consists of basketball.

This becomes even more of a problem when you play fantasy basketball and see these players as providers of numbers and statistics.

Because of this, when someone gets injured, there is an anger that the player is now providing zeros in every category. Fantasy basketball players often become angry that they picked up a player who got injured when the other player who was available could have been giving them stats.

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But what fans often don’t consider is how the players are affected by the injury in their personal lives.

Basketball players are able to play professionally and earn a salary for about 20 years, if they are extremely lucky. An injury can derail their next contract and affect their financial future.

Most of these guys have families and people who depend on them. Players are concerned about their futures and don’t give a damn about our fantasy teams. And that should be okay for us fantasy basketballers. 

When someone we know personally and find out that they are injured, we are more likely than not to offer them our sympathy and wish them a speedy recovery. Why can’t we just do the same for professional athletes?

One small solution that could easily be adopted by fantasy basketball writers is to just wish the player a quick recovery every time they write about the injury. It’s a small change, but if it convinces even one twitter troll to not be a dick, I think it would be worth the effort.

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