‘Tinderization Of The NBA’ Is Changing The Way Players Party And Have Sex On Road Trips
A piece published on ESPN today by Tom Haberstoh investigates the possible reasons behind the NBA’s home-court advantage dropping to an all-time low of 57.4 percent. For perspective, in the 1987-88 season, home teams won 67.9 percent of games, a massively greater margin.
Dozens of players, coaches, team trainers and front-office execs all came to the same conclusion: NBA players are sleeping more and drinking less. One general manager calls it the “Tinderization of the NBA.”
“It’s absolutely true that you get at least two hours more sleep getting laid on the road today versus 15 years ago,” says one former All-Star, who adds that players actually prefer Instagram to Tinder when away from home. “No schmoozing. No going out to the club. No having to get something to eat after the club but before the hotel.”
Messaging through Instagram actually is preferred to Tinder, according to ESPN. Players are known to have hotels leave keys for their road romances to get into their rooms before they even arrive.
The piece also compares the ubiquity of information now compared to the age before social media.
The height of the era, but hardly the end. Lucas, who is 31 years sober, asks us to consider Michael Jordan, caught gambling in Atlantic City the night before the 1993 Eastern Conference finals Game 2 against the Knicks. The New York Times, citing two sources, reported that Jordan was outside the Bally’s Grand casino until 2:30 a.m. Jordan disputed the report, insisting he left by 11 p.m. A Snapchat timestamp surely would have done the trick.
Or consider the night before an exhibition game against the Magic in 1997, when Charles Barkley was out at Phineas Phogg’s, a bar in Orlando, with Rockets teammate Clyde Drexler. Barkley, coming off a season in which he averaged 23.2 points and 11.6 rebounds for Phoenix, tossed a man through a glass window after an altercation. Barkley was arrested and jailed for five hours before being released on a $6,000 bond.
Just think of the windfall that would follow today if LeBron was caught gambling in the wee hours of the night before a FINALS game. And I, for one, had no idea Barkley threw a man through a window before LeBron called him out for it a few weeks back. That information would be impossible to avoid today.
Haberstoh points out that James Harden’s name was mentioned in at least 25 of TMZ’s posts last season during the time he was dating Khloe Kardashian. That year, Harden says, was the “worst year ever.”
“If you do anything … everything is on social media, it’s on Instagram. People make it bigger than what it really is,” Harden says. “I guess it comes with it, man. It’s a new day.”
Since his breakup with Khloe, Harden has appeared a grand total of once on TMZ.
Moral of the story: the things you could get away with a decade ago can ruin your career today. Right, Tiger?