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The Highlight Factory

I wrote a few weeks ago about attending the Miami Pro Summer League. The organizers in Miami are working to make Miami’s league the next most-popular summer basketball event happening after Los Angeles’ Drew League (though, IMO, without the prize money, neither will come close to TBT).

I haven’t been to “the Drew,” but I see highlights occasionally on Twitter or Instagram — recently it was NBA star and SoCal native James Harden making a special guest appearance and, at least according to the 60-second clip, doing his thing. My few times seeing Miami’s Pro-Am (Pro-Am means “professional - amateur,” a place for these athletes to mix and compete) offering left me underwhelmed, and not because the players aren't talented.

What makes both leagues exciting and a place to be and something to talk about is also exactly why they both fail to deliver very high-level basketball: They’re the place you go to get your highlights. Notice that none of the highlight clips made from these games say anything about who won the game— because it doesn’t matter who won. It’s about looking good for an audience.

And highlight-chasing doesn’t make for good games.

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