David Stern on Jim Rome: “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

david-stern

Theories abound about the NBA Draft lottery being fixed. You could conceivably make a case for any scenario if you really want. And when the league owned New Orleans Hornets won the lottery a couple weeks ago the conspiracy theorists went off. And if you believe this stuff, well maybe you think the moon landing was staged, and 9/11 was an inside job.

Then again why did NBA Commissioner David Stern get SO DEFENSIVE on the Jim Rome show when asked about it?

[Read more…]

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban: more fan than owner

Mark Cuban

Most NBA owners are your typical everyday-businessmen, usually very conservative with their money, but yet they sip on $5 coffees from Starbucks six days out of the week. They also sit in a luxury box during home games and occasionally will make the trip to away games. They are laid-back at games, rarely showing any emotion almost stoic, acting like they don’t care whether or not their team wins or loses. Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban is not like most owners.

In fact, I would go as far as to say that Cuban is the most interactive, hands-on owner in all of sports. [Read more…]

Cavaliers Owner Sends Whiny Email to NBA Over CP3 Lakers Trade

CLEVELAND-CAVALIERS-LOGO

You recall Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert from the night of Lebron James’ “The Decison” correct? The man who made his fortune by exploiting poor people and giving out house loans to the homeless (CEO of Quicken Loans) embarrassed himself that evening with an extremely bitter letter to LBJ.

The comic sans font he used put the unintentional comedy of the situation off the charts. Gilbert is back with another too whiny for a powerful billionaire missive.

Gilbert called the New Orleans Hornets’ now nullified trade of Chris Paul to the L.A. Lakers a “travesty,” and urged NBA commissioner David Stern to let the league’s 29 owners vote on it. an

The email was obtained and published by Yahoo! Sports. You can read it after the jump.

[Read more…]

Already? Stern, NBA Step in it by Nullifying Chris Paul Lakers Trade

On a sports day that had been dominated by news of Albert Pujols leaving the St. Louis Cardinals to head to Anaheim and the Angels, one could have reasonably expected a good night’s rest and relaxation. Instead, sports writers had to put on the coffee and gear up for another huge story, because the New Orleans Hornets stunned the basketball world and dealt star point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The deal would have involved the Houston Rockets as well, and would have sent Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic, Houston’s 2012 1st Round pick (acquired from the Knicks) and Lamar Odom to the Hornets. The Rockets would have acquired Pau Gasol as part of the trade, but the Lakers obviously would have made out like bandits by both keeping Andrew Bynum and acquiring Paul.

As you surely noticed, there are a lot of “would have’s” in that paragraph. And that’s because the NBA stepped in and nullified the trade.

[Read more…]

Free Agency hypes start of NBA season

lebron_bosh_wade

After one of the most publicized off-seasons in NBA history, the league’s landscape seems to have gone through a bigger face lift than Joan Rivers.

The anticipation for the start of the season has been building since Lebron and CBTV reporter Blane Harrington lit up expectations in the sunshine state, seemingly anointing the Heat the most hated team in the NBA. With Bosh and Lebron departed, the season looks bleak for former contenders Cleveland and Toronto. Dan Gilbert has made statements claiming his new life goal is to ruin Lebron James, and the mere mention of the former king of Cleveland within the city has caused riots at Indians games.

Miami’s big three will open up the season against Boston’s big three on Tuesday in a game that will feature two of the most elite teams in the Eastern Conference.

[Read more…]

Why Are Caucasians Disinterested in the NBA?

davidstern

By Paul M. Banks

There’s a very popular website entitled “Stuff White People Like.” I’m guessing you won’t find the NBA featured there and that’s a crying shame because the Association’s level of play is as exciting and entertaining as it’s ever been! The game is taking off all around the world as most of the website hits for NBA content come from outside the United States.

But I live in Chicago, the best sports town in the country. Nearly all of my white friends, who LOVE COLLEGE basketball and follow it religiously, ignore the NBA. Even during the postseason when the Bulls just played in the most exciting playoff series in league history. My Caucasian friends were more interested in the two local sub .500 baseball teams. And it’s not just my social network, or a Chicago thing; it’s part of a larger overall trend.

Is it just plain racism? The NFL has just as many players shooting their guns off in strip club parking lots and getting into fights. Baseball and hockey have just as many, if not more thugs in their respective leagues. In all of these sports, it’s just a tiny fraction of players who are malfeasant and miscreant- the overwhelming majority just go about their business and stay out of trouble

Yet the NBA (and no other league) is somehow stuck with the “collection of thugs” pejorative. You’ve heard the ignorant and incorrect slams over and over again: “no one plays defense, they don’t try, they’re a bunch of gang-bangers and lazy thugs.”   stephenjackson

I asked sportswriter Dave Zirin (author of four books and a column, Edge of Sports appearing on Sports Illustrated’s website. Also host of XM satellite’s weekly show, Edge of Sports Radio) about how these racist sports fans mask their bigotry, and also what type of things I should say to them in order to set them straight.

“They use euphemisms. I would say: first, you don’t know what you’re missing because the product is as good as it’s ever been. They got rid of the rules that inexplicably led to Steve Nash becoming a two-time MVP, made the game a lot more exciting in my book. I hated hand-checking and second, do you or do you no believe in racial profiling? And if people think that you can determine someone’s character based on the color of their skin and how they dress, that’s racist. If you’re deciding not to watch the NBA because someone has tattoos, that’s racist. They’re like ‘oh black people, tattoos, baggy jeans.’

That’s why I opposed the dress code stuff from David Stern and his whole move to give the league quote, red-state appeal. Those are Stern’s words by the way. Not that I disagree with him trying to broaden the sport or get into new states-  that’s cool as hell, but the way he was doing it seemed to say, you have uncertainties and fears about these young black guys with the corn rows and I’m going to validate your fears and do something about it. So instead of trying to build bridges and acknowledge that the reason there’s this gap between the black experience and the white experience in this country, has a lot more to do with gentrification, with stratification, with white flight, the deterioration of our cities, the gap between rich and poor. Instead of the NBA being a force for actually trying to be a bridge, David Stern took another approach and said ‘I’ll keep these guys in line,’ Zirin said.

During the last 30 years, the American middle class has dwindled significantly. The very rich have gotten much wealthier and the percentage of people living below the poverty line has shot way up. These trends increased at an even faster rate during the past eight years. NBA marketing followed suit, raising ticket prices to a ludicrous level and pricing out the middle and working classes. The league is still doing well from a financial standpoint, but suffering greatly from a public relations perspective. The league’s leadership demonstrated business acumen, but holds horrible misperceptions about American society. However, it’s not all their fault, as the media has dropped the ball on this too.

To quote a 2007 column of Kansas City Star columnist Jason Whitlock: “It would {also} help if well-intentioned media offered some depth to their analysis of America’s complex racial dilemma…Black NBA players have aligned themselves in terms of attitude with hip hop/prison culture. Every one pretty much acknowledges that the NBA’s predominantly white in-arena fan base has a problem with the league’s hip-hop/prison image.”

I asked Zirin about the league’s blatant attempt to market itself to just the very top and the very bottom classes in American society.nbadresscode

“Stern even said, when talking about the dress code, words to this effect: we have to make the game attractive to our ticket buying fan base, it may not have been ‘attractive’ but the part I’m quoting verbatim is ‘ticket buying fan base.’ When you have tickets that cost an insane amount of money, I grew up in New York City I remember being 12-13 years old and me and my buddies pooling our allowance and going to see Magic Johnson or Jordan, you could do that.

It’s crazy and that’s true across the board in sports, but it’s especially problematic and destructive in basketball, because David Stern very artfully marketed hip-hop in the 1980s. He made the NBA a hip-hop league and made it very attractive to African-American youth, but also whites that were maybe looking to mainline a little bit with some black cool. He did that, but now the status of the league is on an anti-hip hop mission,” Zirin responded.

Clearly, the league has painted itself into a corner regarding how they’ve marketed themselves. The NBA’s relationship with hip-hop culture has become maladaptive, disjointed and conflicted. That could be a big reason why the Caucasian consumer class, middle class and working classes who embraced the game during the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson/Michael Jordan era are long gone, and probably not coming back any time soon- unless the league higher-ups take a long, hard serious look at how they promote, market and price their product.

The Economics of Basketball

By Brandon Robinson
With the current recession, it is going to be difficult for a lot of Americans—even for those working with NBA basketball. At least as far as making money they were accustomed to making a few years ago.

Additionally, the biggest effect will be on team revenue. “If you think about it, it’s one big cycle. The recession affects the fans, who will spend less money on tickets and merchandise. So the league will force the players to accept less as the pie shrinks,” says ESPN.com Senior Writer, JA Adande.

 Revenue from ticket sales and sponsorship will be down next season. Player payroll is based on a percentage of team revenue. This means the salary cap will go down, which means players that are not already under contract will have a difficult time getting the kind of deals they’ve gotten in the past.

Team owners are finding ways to cut costs in a shrinking economy.

“It already had an effect this season. Teams are anticipating lower revenue and were reluctant to take on expensive contracts at the trade deadline,” says Chris Carrino, Executive Director of Broadcasting for the New Jersey Nets.

Footlocker.com

Currently, the hoopla surrounding the summer of 2010 has been hyped as the year in which marketable a-list of superstars will become unrestricted free agents. This means that NBA squads can sign them to max long term deals without that price being matched by their current team or other teams. During that summer, it is believed that Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, will bolt and sign with either the New York Knicks or across the Hudson with the New Jersey Nets. That summer has been dubbed by some as the “Summer of LeBron.” It will be very interesting to see what teams decide to do as the economy crumbles. Will people spend money?

Among that elite list of free agents: Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade, Toronto Raptors’ Chris Bosh, Phoenix Suns’ Amare Stoudemire, Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, New Orleans Hornets’ Tyson Chandler, San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili, Milwaukee Bucks’ Richard Jefferson, Atlanta Hawks’ Joe Johnson, Houston Rockets’ Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash, Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Michael Redd.

“This will come into play in the next collective bargaining agreement, which will certainly feature shorter contract lengths and average and maximum salaries. It will become more difficult for teams to afford multiple stars, or to fit them into a smaller salary cap. So if the teams are worse, the fans won’t want to come to the arena to watch them, and it starts all over again,” added JA Adande.

Footlocker.com

A lot has happened since the current NBA collective bargain agreement, was signed during the lockout shortened 1998-99 NBA season. Players have made a lot of money. The current collective bargaining agreement ends the summer of 2011 and owners want to make strict changes. According to the Indianapolis Star-News, the Indiana Pacers have lost money nine of the past 10 years. The Sacramento Bee reported that the Sacramento Kings are expected to lose up to $25 million this season. The Sports Business Journal reported that the Orlando Magic are expecting potential losses of between $15 million and $20 million. Charlotte Bobcats owner Robert Johnson has claimed losses of $50 million since he paid $300 million for the expansion franchise in 2003.

Clearly the owners and NBA commissioner David Stern want to lower the salary cap and with good reason. The NBA salary cap went down only once in 2002. It went from $42.5 million to $42.7 because they overestimated it. That was with no economic trouble.

“I think the game will be fine, but just like every industry it’s going to take some hits” says ESPN the Magazine’s senior writer, Chris Broussard.

“The superstars are still going to get paid: Kobe, LeBron, Wade, and Dwight Howard are still going to get their money,” added Broussard. So who will take the biggest hit? “It’s always going to hurt the midlevel players, the midlevel salary will definitely drop” says Broussard.

What do players think about this? “Of course the current economic climate will affect the lengths of contracts and the amount of money people will make. Teams are tightening their spending since they are not making money the way they were before,” says Utah Jazz guard Brevin Knight.

One thing is clear, despite the economic woes fans will still need an outlet to get their minds off this economic crisis. They need something to cheer for.

”The game still is very popular. You have great young stars and rivalries in the Celtics and the Lakers. LeBron and Kobe have somewhat of a rivalry in regards to who is the best player,” added Broussard.
Something tells me, everything will be fine.