I stopped watching the NBA in 1999 when they went on strike. Team play had been sliding for years as individuals turned into showboats in the hopes of being on the Sportscenter highlight reel. As high schoolers began making NBA rosters, the quality of play in general had diminished significantly. Players like Shawn Kemp were having enough children to have their own reality show, almost as many as misguided religious zealots who apparently believe in eugenics (sorry, I'm getting off track) Worst of all, the league had turned into a gang of ignorant thugs, most notably the Portland Jail Blazers.
Despite all this, the final nail in the coffin didn't come until 2005 when the last likeable player left the league - Predrag Drobnjak. It wasn't his unparalleled ball handling skills that drew me in. Nor was it his teamwork, highlight real dunks, or shooting skills. What made me a fan was his smack talk generator - cleverly dubbed drobnsmack. I love telling people, "I laugh out loud at your abilities!" or, "tonight your uniform will be wet with tears of sadness." The opportunity has not yet arisen for me to use, "your skills smells like rotten soup" but I never tire of my all time favorite taunt, courtesy of the mad Montenegrin, "hey fancy man, the dance studio is that way!" Nothing will take the wind out of the sails of an opponent quite like that.