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That Green NBA

I am glad to see the NBA coming (later than just about any corporation) to the idea that the environment matters.

I'm sorry that it comes with more different uniforms. Honestly, these days, across a crowded sports bar, I don't know how any casual can tell which teams are playing. The Nuggets at home, in green? And 'Melo doesn't even have his distinctive hair anymore?

I assume the league has the best environmental intentions, and that basketball's future will be more environmentally sound than the old one. I have read the optimistic words of the highly respected Natural Resources Defense Council.

But most of the stuff that has been discussed (organic cotton uniforms for a week?) seems not worthy of this degree of promotion. Basketball is still an industry driven almost entirely on plastic things (shoes, balls, jerseys, TVs) made cheaply overseas from petroleum products and shipped great distances, stopping maybe for a year or two to be used in your house before completing their inevitable march to the landfill. It's still an industry based on climate controlling some of the biggest buildings around. It's still an industry based on big private airplanes flying hither and yon delivering people to massive climate controlled luxury hotels, even as those people's massive climate controlled luxury homes with climate controlled swimming pools sit empty thousands of miles away. It's still an industry that the vast majority of people can only support after driving a while and then sitting in a traffic jam.

Let me know when the NBA gets to promoting Louis Amundson's bike riding (UPDATE: I stand corrected). Let me know when there is a big push to get arenas downtown, where people can commute without cars. Let me know when the schedule is shorter and more regional. (If you could halve the amount of flying teams did, it would send a real environmental message, and it would also make players more rested to play more meaningful regular season games.)

I'm not saying the NBA doesn't care. I'm certain smart people are figuring out ways to make all that better, and sooner or later sustainable approaches will be in place.

But what seems a little weird is the tone of this campaign is that the NBA is giving us tips about how to be more environmentally responsible? The NBA, which still glamourizes people tooling around in Hummers and Escalades, and has players changing uniforms every time they get sweaty, is telling us to carpool and spot-treat our stains?