Says USA Today:

The NBA’s young audience geeks out, shares and gives hot takes on their favorite sport, rather than ruminates over fantasy line-ups or jots down particulars on a baseball scorecard.

But as much as football fans and a few delusional baseball devotees will bristle at this, basketball does the best job of all major sports in tapping into the country’s cultural psyche and in keeping pace with the way it is moving.

The NFL diehards will point first, second and third to television viewing figures, for so long the barometer of all things related to popularity. Yes, far more people watch broadcasts of NFL games than NBA games, even the Finals. But this is 2018, a time when television ownership rates and cable subscriptions are tanking, and when people increasingly spend far more of their lives buried in their phones than plunked down in front of the idiot box.

There’s no great rush of humanity wishing to hand back their smart phones, suggesting that social media, for all its ills, might be a clearer indicator of where things are at, and where they are heading.

When it comes to engagement and interaction, the bewildering domain of online life is dominated by the NBA, with the athletes among the most prolific and creative content providers.

The NBA has embraced everything that America’s youth likes and plays just as big a role in telling it what it should like next. Steph Curry’s latest sneakers, even those horrible plain white ones, will generate a larger online impression than even Tom Brady’s latest spectacular performance.

Football has some serious narratives around it, perhaps too serious to fit within the neat parameters of easily-digestible entertainment. Brain injury is a compelling and disturbing issue, and is hard to reconcile when those who provide the enjoyment of the activity have their physical health at stake:

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