NBA and NFL are two of the most popular professional sports leagues in America. While the NFL has a much bigger fanbase, the NBA has gone up and down for the past twenty years. However, in the near future, the NBA will likely take over as the top professional sports league in the country. People are now realizing that the NBA is a much better league than the NFL, but why is that? Why is the NBA better than the NFL?
One of the major aspects that sets both the leagues apart is the way both leagues treat their players. It’s no secret that NBA players make far more money than NFL players, even though NFL players are risking their lives every time they step on the field. Football is undoubtedly more dangerous than basketball, yet the NFL players get compensated far less as opposed to NBA or MLB players.
Furthermore, the average career span of an NFL player is three and a half years, and an average player makes somewhere around $850,000 annually. Now compare that to an NBA player’s 7.5 million a season, and you would see how unfairly the NFL treats their athletes.
Let’s delve deep into all the different reasons that make the NBA better than the NFL.
The Culture of NBA is better than NFL
The players are allowed to speak their own minds without being scrutinized. For example, do you see NBA players clashing with owners because they disagree over politics? No. The NFL, on the other hand, handed out fines to its players for wearing custom cleats before finally easing the rules in 2017.
NBA players have way more freedom to wear whatever sneakers they want, no fines, no trouble, no nothing. The league lets the players be themselves. And they can express themselves however they wish, be it through fashion or personality.
And besides the NBA loyal fans, you also have all of these awesome celebrities supporting their favorite NBA players and teams. Spike Lee with the New York Knicks, Jack Nicholson is always courtside at LA Lakers games, and the Toronto Raptors named Drake as their global ambassador.
On top of that, Beyonce and Jay Z are sometimes seen in Houston Rockets games; they’re only the most powerful couple in the music industry.
We love how the NBA lets their players do whatever they want; they can express themselves all they want, they don’t get fined or penalized for having fun. Plus, when you bring in all the awesome celebrities and their involvement in the game, it becomes such an amazing culture.
NBA Marketing is better
In more ways than one, the NBA does a great job at marketing their star players, which obviously helps them become more universally recognized. As we said in the previous point, players are allowed to wear their own custom sneakers; these players all sign mega-rich shoes and other endorsement deals that help them appear all over television ads and cereal boxes at your local mall.
Everybody knows who LeBron James and Kevin Durant are, as opposed to Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, both of whom are hardly known by anyone in places like Europe and Asia.
Don’t forget LeBron’s lifetime shoe deal with Nike that is worth over 1 billion dollars. All of these guys secure their lifetime financial futures with shoe deals.
Right when they are drafted, the players get a prominent and elite agent that lands them those life-changing endorsement deals.
Whereas in the NFL, you don’t see players signing lucrative endorsement deals, and the league doesn’t go to great lengths to market their players; they kind of have to go do that on their own.
If you check out the NBA social media pages, you will see that they’re all about advertising and hyping up these top stars.
The NBA simply does everything they can to market their stars and make them recognizable.
Super Teams All Around
Many obviously don’t like the whole idea of a super team. Over the past twenty years or so, all-stars players have opted to team up with one another to build an unstoppable powerhouse. That’s how LeBron James led teams made the NBA finals for eight straight years.
Some fans, however, simply love the idea of a super team, usually when it’s their team, though. But it’s an arms race where some clubs are trying to out super team the other.
Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors team that had just won 73 games.
That forced the Houston Rockets to align Chris Paul and James Harden and for the Oklahoma City Thunder to bring aboard Paul George so he could compliment Russell Westbrook.
Having LeBron team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris bosh made the NBA more fun in two different ways, either you loved the super team, or you loved hating them.
It was a win-win situation for the league either way.
It’s hard for NFL teams to build super teams with the salary cap.
Whereas some NBA stars either take pay cuts or their teams willingly pay a luxury tax. It’s awesome watching three to four future hall of farmers share the court in the NBA.
One reason why the NFL doesn’t seem to have a huge following outside of North America is that the vast majority of the players are American, and very few pro-ball players were born outside of the United States.
However, it’s a completely different story for the NBA, where we’ve been fortunate enough to witness so many world-class talents from every corner of the earth.
German sensation Dirk Nowitzki is now retired, but he certainly did his part in growing the product’s popularity in Germany, kind of like what Steve Nash did in Canada and Yao Ming did in China. (Learn why NBA is so popular is China?)
Kyrie Irving was born in Australia, plus Ben Simons has certainly done his part in expanding the general NBA interest in the land down under.
These international stars bring diversity to the NBA court, and they help expand the game of basketball and the league product in their respective countries.
It’s such a wonderful part of the NBA, and it’s why the league has a more global following than the NFL.
We know that Roger Goodell has a really difficult job, but he bears some responsibility for the many problems in the NFL; suspending Ray Rice two games for assaulting his fiance, but Tom Brady gets four games for possibly orchestrating a football deflating scheme. Lacking a zero-tolerance policy for domestic abuse but it’s a bigger crime for a player to smoke weed.
NFL ratings have dropped down quite a bit before going back up in 2018 Goodell has simply let the NFL get out of hand. All of his clashes between the players and owners, his horrible job as a disciplinarian, we can go on, and on. Simply put he has to change things up before it’s too late.
On the other hand, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has done an A+ job since replacing David stern; he forced LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team after making racial comments against African Americans.
Silver made it clear that he would not accept such behavior from the owners. Whereas Goodell doesn’t care when NFL owners make racial or other offensive comments. Why else do you think he’s been in power for so long? The owners love Goodell for sticking by their side every single time. Silver has also talked about the mental health of the NBA players. Sympathizing for them and making himself approachable to the ones who need to talk. That’s what a great commissioner does; he’s lending his support to the players.
Silver says and does all the right things. He has steered clear of any controversies, unlike Goodell. It is hard to complain about anything that Goodell has done as commissioner of the NBA, and he gives us every reason to support the product; if anything, Goodell does the opposite in the NFL.
Fewer scandals than NFL
Where can we start with all the NFL controversies? Deflategate, Spygate, bounty gate, teams pumping extra crowd noise into their speakers, players being suspended for taking PED, it goes on and on. It is not like the NBA doesn’t have its controversies; it does, but it’s not just about cheating scandals in the NFL, you have too many tragic cases of players committing domestic violence, and the league would give them a slap on the wrist rather than banning these players for life.
The owners and players are at war with each other for multiple reasons. The league couldn’t handle the political protest, which led to more and more tension. It’s things like this that have caused many fans to turn away from football. NFL teams show that winning matters more than proper morals.
The NBA doesn’t have scandals like this and if there are any disciplinary lapses by the players they are dealt with properly. For example, Willy Read received a suspension due to a domestic violence case involving his wife. He played just three games in 2017/18 and didn’t play for an NBA team the following season.
It’s clear NBA teams don’t want to give guys like that the opportunity when they commit such an awful act. And don’t forget those lengthy suspensions Ron Artest and Jermaine O’Neal got for their involvement in 2004 malice at the palace.
There are very few scandals in the NBA, and if a player gets in trouble, he pays the price with a lengthy suspension, or in some cases, he’s not allowed back into the league.
Players know that they can’t do awful things on and off the court and expect to keep playing, which ensures good behavior. We are waiting for the NFL to follow the NBA’s model before it gets too late.
Better player safety
It’s not crazy to think that football could die soon. A recent study showed that 99% of deceased NFL players had CTE. Many former players, including Brett Farve and Joe Montana, talk about the constant pain they have gone through since their retirements.
High school football participation has dropped across America, with many youth leagues folding due to low enrolment.
The NFL just hasn’t been able to figure out a better player safety protocol. At this rate, it’s hard to see how they would survive over the next ten or so years. Unless these issues are resolved, they might not stand a chance.
On the other hand, basketball is anything but a violent sport, and there is no reason to believe that participation in the country will decline in the near future. There’s not a whole lot the NFL can do about this. There aren’t any life-threatening injuries or illnesses that NBA players can suffer during their careers. Players are healthy during and after their careers. It’s just how the game of basketball is compared to football; that is why the NBA is likely to take over as the top sport in America before long.
Fewer people are playing football, and it’s hard to watch a league knowing these players won’t be healthy once they retire. Plus, once you know how unfairly the athletes are treated despite putting their lives on the line game after game, the sport kind of loses its fun.
It’s the complete opposite from the NBA, which is a more sustainable product. That’s why the NBA is better than NFL and why it is going to topple the NFL in a short time as the most famous professional sports league in America.