I’m long enough in the tooth to remember the MSG debut of the Knicks City Dancers, castigated at the time by many paying customers for not measuring up to arbitrary / Scores standards of hotness, or in some instances, for being a cheap answer to Los Angeles’ cheesy-enough Laker Girls. It all seemed pretty bush league to me, and not the sort of thing you’d expect an allegedly sophisticated hoops audience like NYC’s to embrace.

(not the Knicks City Dancers)

Fast forward to the modern age and similar acts can be found in expansion markets (Toronto’s Dance Pak) and in old school settings (Boston’s Celtics Dancers) alike. Hardwood Paroxysm’s Sarah Tolcser acknowledges The Association’s reputation as a progressive organization but argues, “when I go to your official website and see scantily-clad girls on the front page, I can™t help feeling that the NBA is not meant to be ‘for me.’ Yahoo Sports’ Kelly Dwyer, at least on the general topic of dance teams, concurs, writing “there is nothing about these dancers that I don’t like…save for their presence at an NBA game.”

We should be beyond this. At no point in either watching or attending an NBA contest do I really want to be titillated to the core by some woman wearing next to nothing. It’s just a “pico de gallo on your ice cream, sir?” situation for me. I like both, just not together. I don’t need my heart rate to go up, or blood to flow anywhere beyond the place that tells me that Tim Duncan(notes) doesn’t seal the baseline like he used to.

I know that these women aren’t cheerleaders. They’re in professional dance troupes, meant to entertain, and technically not meant for people who are into that sort of thing (considering both sexes, well over half of the audience they perform for) to be viewed as sexual objects alone. We can appreciate the moves, the choreography, the outfits. Yes, boys can, too.

But S-E-X is the big bottom line, and I just don’t understand the line of thinking that tells us, “there is a break in the action, so now half the audience shall be reminded of sex. One, two, three, four …”
I just don’t want it there, as much as I don’t want you to send me a picture of one of these women while I’m trying to work, or a litany of links and/or pictures dotting your webpages. I’ve got news for you – if you start your day with or dot your afternoon with pictures of women (or girls, in some cases) for people to leer at, I don’t read your site. The Big Lead? Deadspin? Sports by Brooks? Don’t you feel like complete and utter dorks?