The TV Effect

New York Knicks Forward Carmelo Anthony argues with Joey Crawford while he was still playing in Denver. (via Sports Illustrated)

New York Knicks Forward Carmelo Anthony argues with Joey Crawford while he was still playing in Denver. (via Sports Illustrated)

Many young athletes watch some of their favorite players on television.  When I was just starting my playing career in basketball, I would watch Manu Ginobili almost every night during the Spurs’ games that actually got televised.  It took a few times of my coach yelling at me for me to understand that I wasn’t a guard and probably shouldn’t try Manu’s moves.

However, this problem is worse with the new generation of beginning basketball players.  When you look at the egos in the NBA today like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony, they don’t leave good impressions.  These are the three NBA players who argue the most with officials, and for the most part these three players get away with it. (Click herefor a study of the effects of televised sports on youth)

Many skilled youth who watch these games see that these skilled players are arguing and pleading with officials, and try to do the same thing and are surprised when the official slaps them with a technical foul that they very well deserve.

While watching television can do a lot of positives for an athlete, it can also give them an ego so big that no scouts would be likely to look at them because of their attitude.

Professional Athletes and Their Affect on Youth Sports

LeBron James reacts to an offensive foul called against him during Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers.

LeBron James reacts to an offensive foul called against him during Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers.

While officiating a High School Varsity Basketball Tournament in Agra, Okla. in early December, my partner and I made an observation.  Many players attempted the NBA-popularized “Euro Step,” but unsuccessfully did so and we would in turn, call them for a traveling violation.  My partner referred to it as “the Thunder Effect.”

He continued to talk about how he noticed the style of play in Oklahoma, especially in the boys game, change to more resemble the NBA after the Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in time for the 2008-09 season.  The NBA has fallen under scrutiny for several things, including the large amount of travels that go uncalled.  I once watched a playoff game where former Celtics Forward Kevin Garnett took 4 steps and dunked after picking up his dribble.  No whistle.

Now, in High School Basketball, more and more players are even mimicking NBA star egos.  Remember Game 6 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals featuring the Miami Heat at the Indiana Pacers?  LeBron James was called for an offensive foul and rightfully so.  He proceeded to sprint the length of the basketball court in protest, on national television.  I personally wish James would accept the fact that he is currently the best basketball player in the world and cut out the whining and crying. (Click here for a story on Game 6)

Many current high school players are even behaving in similar manners.  In the same game I mentioned earlier, I called an offensive foul.  The player who drew the foul got up and bodied up to the offensive player, leaving me no choice but to issue a technical foul.

There are similar cases in other sports such as football and baseball.  This serves as a sports example of the trickle-down effect.