The Shameless and Probably Unintentional Hilarity of the Bikini Basketball Association

There was a time in my life when I was into the “alternative” sports leagues.  I stayed on the Slamball train through the hiatus into its run on Cartoon Network and I still think the NFL should replace its allegedly dangerous kickoffs with the XFL’s “Scrambles. It’s definitely a stretch to call it sports (not a stretch, it’s just not sports), but I even watch the Puppy Bowl every year.

However, there’s a point where novelty wears off. There’s a point where these knockoff leagues lose interest. It’s assumed that the athletic ability won’t be on the same level as the pro leagues, but that’s where the crazy league stipulations come in.

The guys can’t jump as high? Give them trampolines. Et cetera.

Sure, we all have entertainment that we find uncouth, tactless, and so personally offensive that we end up paying attention to revel in its failure. The worst part is that most of the time we end up genuinely liking it (see also: the Bachelor).

Bikini-Basketball-AssociationBut I just found out about something tailored so specifically for the lowest common denominator of audience member that it’s already  accidentally beat you to the punch to make fun of itself. Get ready for a brand new low: the Bikini Basketball Association (and there’s a subhead that I totally didn’t make up: Basketball League for Sexy Athletic Ladies).

Call it the “Jersey Shore Effect,” but at some point in recent entertainment history, people started making shows that we all love hating: Honey Boo Boo, Hoarders, Duck Dynasty. These people know what they’re doing. the saddest part about the BBA is that I genuinely think they have no idea that they’re creating a laughingstock.

It all started with a heavily-researched, groundbreaking insight: Men aged 18-34 like sports; Men aged 18-34 like women as naked as possible. It doesn’t just have to be men aged 18-34, but I’m painting with broad demographic brushstrokes. The purple area of the Venn Diagram between sports fans and fans of the female form is awfully thick, so it makes sense to double down on those shared interests, right? Hypothetically. The immediate realty is that any organization that offers a combination of both high-level sporting entertainment and a moderate level of cable-tv-friendly pornography will undoubtedly end up providing neither. And it won’t even be close.

This isn’t even the first attempt at marrying sports and pornography, and most people would even say that the pattern of the Lingerie Football League is a success. I couldn’t disagree with that, but the LFL (now the Legends Football League thanks to a rebrand that forgot why the sport was working) has something that the BBA doesn’t: a major TV contract that can save all of the footage (with post-production zoom capability) and stream it directly into men’s homes where they won’t be ashamed of watching it in front of people.

That, and the LFL has gotten some nice cameras and mastered the art of the promotional photo to show off girls who look like this:

Lingerie Football League

Do these girls even play sports, or just get Photoshopped for a living?

And not like this:

Bikini Basketball Association

Was this taken in a studio or pulled off someone’s “Spring Break ’08” Facebook album?

Where did the BBA go wrong? My analysis is that at some point they basically threw away the basketball part and started to put lots of effort into being incredibly heavy-handed about the sexuality thing. Take, for example, the league summary posted on its homepage:

The Bikini Basketball Association (BBA) is an exciting new innovative women’s sports association. The BBA is a United States based women’s basketball association for beautiful athletic women. The association will begin play this summer. Women were selected based on athleticism, personality, as well as beauty. The combination of these traits will help the BBA athletes stand out in their respective communities. Each team will feature between 14 to 21 talented female athletes on their rosters. Prepare for one of the sexiest and most exciting new associations to “TAKE THE WORLD BY STORM”, get ready for the Bikini Basketball Association (BBA)

Look past the second (BBA) and the forgotten period at the end. If you’re viewing it on the site, you can even look past the centered-text layout. By my count, there are three (beautiful, beauty, sexiest) mentions of attractiveness and one misplaced comma in this statement about the league. Also, it appears that roughly one-third of the roster decisions are based on personality.

In all seriousness, I wanted to get super caught up in the BBA. It’s the perfect type of thing for this blog to care about. Sort of serious, sort of about sports, but mostly a bunch of people looking to do something no one else is doing. That much is awesome. But when I started reading through all the information from the BBA, I cracked up. I couldn’t stick with it. This is dripping with disaster. They took something that could have been a decent niche idea and turned it into a steamy, heavy-breathing drugstore romance novel of athletics.

BBA Illinois Heart

Sexy and athletic, sure, but how’s her personality?

The BBA literally couldn’t be more aggressive in its marketing if it called itself Hooping Oily Teases (HOT) or just Sports Eroticism eXhibition (Acronym withheld for SEO purposes). The team roster photos are headshots taken from far enough away that the sports bra and its contents are in full view. One of the teams is called the Las Vegas Fantasy. The announcers are loaded up on phrases like “ball-handler,” “dribble penetration,” “woman-on-woman” defense and “backdoor pass.”

Look, I’m always in favor of recognizing when you’ve got it and flaunting it, but it appears that the BBA is clearly flaunting something they haven’t got. If you don’t believe me, check out those pictures above one more time. It’s not that they aren’t attractive, it’s just that if you’re going to start a league based on how hot your athletes are, you can’t just hold open tryouts.

And it’s not even going to be on TV! That’s right, even if the idea sounds interesting to you, you have to clear room on your calendar, show up in person, bring your binoculars and successfully avoiding telling anyone about what happened to a huge chuck of your afternoon. Ticket prices aren’t posted yet, but the permanent dignity hit of someone finding out you went to a BBA should be more than enough to compound the damages.

For anyone interested in going to the games, the season starts on June 22. Good luck to you. And good luck to the BBA, I’ll be cheering for you from a safe, but hilarious distance.