Over one hundred times a year, from exhibition thrillers to NBA Finals snooze-fests, the NBA trots out an accident waiting to happen in the form of a litany of camera workers that sit directly under the basket, just a few feet away from players that are often running at full speed while trying to navigate through an NBA game. Collisions between players and camera operators have yet to result in a significant injury, unless Eugene Amos and his lawyer are to be believed, but that doesn’t mean that these sorts of things aren’t just a click away.
With Tony Parker suffering a minor hand injury after hitting a camera in a San Antonio Spurs exhibition on Saturday, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich reminded us of this danger. From Jeff McDonald at Spurs Nation:
“It’s a danger waiting to happen,” Gregg Popovich said.
“It’s kind of like when you’re in your neighborhood. You keep telling people you need a stop sign, and they don’t change it until a kid gets killed and then they put up a stop sign,” Popovich said. “Somebody of stature is going to get seriously hurt by one of those guys, and then all hell will break loose.”
The problem, and we’ve been down this road before, is that the NBA isn’t going to just toss a series of fluffy pillows down in the ground that the camera workers once occupied. No, they’re going to install front and second row seats to sell to the highest bidder. Media members used to sit in a press row directly in back of the camera operators, and now most NBA squads have either eliminated the press row in favor of expensive high end seats, or severely cut down on its real estate. They’d do the same with the deposed camera workers, under the guise of encouraging player safety.
In this likely scenario, better the object of derision and collision be a camera person who is paying attention to every bit of the game than some corporate stand-in on a gifted ticket, staring down at his or her smartphone.
All it takes is one bad twitch of a landing, a tweak gone the wrong way that could take place even as a player slowly walks back toward the court on his way out of the tangle, for an Achilles tear or knee ligament sprain or worse to take place. It doesn’t have to be a sonic boom-styled collision for something bad to happen.
With that in place, the NBA isn’t going to waste that prime real estate by putting anything safer up there. It’s just an ongoing frustration that teams are going to have to live with.
In the meantime, fans, enjoy all the great photos and video clips the NBA’s media provides for you. Better pictures than some doofus with a smartphone could take.
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