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NBA Cares (a lot about its image)

NBA CaresThe NBA is dedicating a lot of very expensive TV time to remind viewers that NBA players are philanthropic nice guys rather than... well, I'm afraid to guess what they think they need to overcompensate for. Not only has ABC/ESPN enlisted Def Leppard and Tim McGraw to record the cheesy country music song "Nine Lives" to lead into broadcasts of playoff games (really, ABC, that's who you think is the core demographic of a professional basketball game?), but each game is peppered with promotional spots for the "NBA Cares" campaign, which consists of NBA stars visiting children's hospitals, signing autographs and rebuilding homes. It doesn't need to be said that the charity and volunteer work is commendable, but why the self-congratulatory "ads"? Shouldn't these extraordinarily wealthy role models being doing this sort of thing anyway?

Bill Gates's philanthropic foundations impact local and international causes to the tune of billions of dollars annually and I'm not forced to watch a video of Bill visiting hospitals in Africa every time I boot up my computer. What if the money the NBA spends promoting their superstars' caring ways was donated to causes NBA players and their fan base are invested in? --Ryan Quinn