Consider this a public service announcement. The NBA playoffs have begun. I just wanted to let you know, because now that the playoffs are underway, you might want to make plans to start paying attention to the NBA in a month or so. Does anybody watch the NBA? Judging from the ratings the league is getting this year, not many. Ratings have disappeared, and the league is is running out of gimmicks. One problem, of course, is that Michael Jordan is no longer around to draw fans in droves. But beyond that, I think last year’s strike hurt the league more than anyone expected. Baseball analysts like to point out that the strike in ’94 caused fans to abandon the game. That’s true, but baseball has recovered. Last year, when the NBA disappeared for half a season, lots of fans went on with their lives and realized, they weren’t missing much. The NBA’s fan base is smaller and weaker than baseball’s, because baseball has been at it for a century. Baseball survived it’s strike, and basketball will too. But the NBA will take longer to bounce back. By the way, the finals are in June.