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7 Reasons to get closer to your NBA monster

I am an NBA television Sideline Reporter, Host and Analyst. I was the first woman to coach men in professional basketball while winning the NBA's D-League Championship.

There are lots of reasons to love the NBA and enjoy the playoffs with your resident monster fan.

Photo credit: Sandra Nicol/E+/Getty Images

With the National Basketball Association's (NBA) playoffs just weeks away, I thought we should all get prepared. Everyone's prep work leading up to the big game is different. Some of us will overanalyze the matchup, while some will be planning on getting out of the house before their loved one turns into what I like to refer to as the "monster." Monsters are fans that are so intense during the game you can't tell if their team is doing well or playing horribly. The volume level is high, and I don't mean the television.

You know you have a resident monster if there is proof of any of the following after the game:

  • Hoarse voice or sore throat because of all the yelling and screaming
  • Headache; see above
  • Bruises on any of the extremities; these could be self-inflicted wounds, or administered to those in the vicinity. With frustration and excitement comes a lot of fist-pumping, foot-kicking and elbow-jabbing, so be sure to approach with caution.
  • Stained clothes from food and beverage spills because of all the jumping and flailing around.
  • Broken furniture; see above

Monster or not, you obviously love your husband, child, partner, etc. My job is to help you enjoy and appreciate basketball enough to endure watching the game with your monster. My top seven reasons to love the NBA:

Women in a position of power

According to the 2013 NBA Racial and Gender Report Card released by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, the NBA continues to lead the sports industry. The report found that during the 2012-13 NBA season 41 percent of all professional employees at the NBA league office were women, including 44 vice presidents. At the individual team level almost twenty percent of the vice president positions are held by women.

Family-friendly entertainment

Children perform on dance teams, in talent shows and during half-time acts. There are giveaways at every game: T-shirts, bobbleheads, a chance to win cash, a vacation or a car. The fans get to interact when appearing on the Jumbotron (the in-arena big screen) with the Dance Cam and Kiss Cam (see President and Michelle Obama). Most of the half-time shows are worthy of a Las Vegas residency, and possibly the best thing: no one has to make dinner that night.

Respect, teamwork, goals and accountability

These are some of the life lessons we can all take away from sports. NBA players have become successful businessmen and politicians. Former Chicago Bull Michael Jordan and Los Angeles Laker Earvin "Magic" Johnson are now very successful businessmen and owners of major sports franchises. Former Detroit Piston Dave Bing became the mayor of Detroit, former New York Knick Bill Bradley was a three-term Senator and former Phoenix Sun Kevin Johnson is currently the Mayor of Sacramento. Have you ever cast a political vote for a former NBA player?

The original reality television

We always root for the underdog in a romantic comedy, why not on the basketball court? Find out more about the players; there are always several compelling stories (the internet is your friend). Consider Scottie Pippen, a young man who did not get offered a college scholarship out of high school. Pippen ended up at a small university in Arkansas, got drafted fifth, won six NBA championships and was named by the NBA as one of the 50 greatest players to ever play the game. Who would not want to see that drama unfold? Plus, you get to see grown men express every emotion outwardly. No other major professional sport allows such close access with no helmets to hide the tears.

Community relations

The NBA has league-wide initiatives such as NBA Cares. Every team has an entire department dedicated to giving back to its community, and players have their own foundations. Even when the players are fined for disciplinary reasons, the money is donated to charities. According to the National Basketball Association, the NBA, its teams and players have donated more than $220 million to charity, completed 2.5 million hours of hands-on community service and created more than 810 places where kids and families can live, learn or play all over the world.

Skill and athleticism

The things these athletes are able to do on the court are flat-out amazing. They do things that Ringling Brothers would pay a hefty ransom to package. Players will hustle and dive across the floor, or into the seats for a loose ball. Where else can you see a man jump over a 7-foot-tall man while on his way to a slam dunk without the aid of any equipment? You will be in awe.

Proud to be an American

Basketball is one of the Olympic sports that we invented. The U.S. has dominated basketball at the Olympic games. The men's team has won the gold medal 14 of the last 17 Olympic games it participated in, while the women have won five consecutive gold medals. In typical American fashion, the NBA is inclusive of all countries. The rosters to start this current season boasted a record 92 foreign-born players from 39 countries.

If you can embrace the NBA, your monster will seem more like Grover from Sesame Street and less like the Tasmanian Devil. Enjoy the Playoffs!

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