June 17th is a day that will live in infamy for several reasons. Today marks the 25th anniversary of the OJ Simpson chase where he attempted to evade police in his White bronco in front of millions of people worldwide. 2 years ago today, of course, is when Markelle Fultz arrived at the Sixers training facility in Camden and took that iconic (now infamous?) picture with Ben Simmons, Robert Covington and Joel Embiid. But nothing that has previously happened on this date could prepare us for what has happened today. That is, of course, the banning of the R/NBAStreams community on Reddit. Like it’s banned forefathers that came before it like r/soccerstreams, there was no warning as r/nbastreams was pulled from the internet to the dismay of millions.
Now if you aren’t familiar with r/nbastreams you are either not a fan of NBA basketball or someone who foolishly pays for their cable. It was a subreddit dedicated to illegally streaming NBA games. R/NBAstreams was to basketball what Piratebay is to movies, but in real time. Any game, no matter the location or time, could be found on r/nbastreams. There were several years in my life where I had no choice but to rely on r/nbastreams for Sixers game. Attending school out of state meant that the cable package wouldn’t include Sixers games. It was on r/nbastreams where I watched the majority of the 18, 10, 28 and eventually 52-win 76ers.
Shortly after, the site was again a shoulder I could lean on in the “business” world. Working a shitty job at a call center into the late night hours most nights was never fun or enjoyable, but knowing that I could watch West Coast teams (like the Clippers and Warriors and young-gun Kings) kept the noose at bay. And lastly, there is truly nothing like several friends either huddled around a computer or a computer with USB connected to the TV watching a game being illegally streamed. Once you’ve felt like the stream for whatever game you were watching was finally working properly, it would either glitch or crash. Then, whoever owned the computer would have to scramble for the next working stream acting as if they were Tim Berners-Lee all while your friends are growing more and more impatient.
So farewell R/NBAStreams. Whether you were a well-organized underground operation with hundreds of people or just some dude in a dark underground bunker in China, it never mattered to me. I know when I see you next you will have evolved and improved. I will never get League Pass out of defiance. Until then…