Articles matching tag: Basketball
- Column: Greatest Sports Business DealDecember 2, 2013
It’s been called the “Greatest Sports Business Deal” of all time, for good reason. But an investment of $1 million in 1973 that has returned almost $300 million to date may be nearing an end. The brothers Silna – Ozzie and Daniel – were huge basketball fans. After they struck it rich marketing a new material, polyester, they went in search of their own team. The Silnas ended up purchasing the Carolina Cougars in the American Basketball Association (ABA) and promptly moved them to St. Louis, renaming them the Spirits. In 1976 the NBA decided to end years of lawsuits with the upstart ABA by absorbing four ABA teams and buying out the remaining two – the Kentucky Colonels and the Spirits – with an offer no one thought would be refused: $2 million.
- Column: NBA - The Art of TankingNovember 4, 2013
You’ve probably heard of Power Rankings in sports, where teams are ranked on how good they are. This year, CBSSports.com has instituted Power Tankings to rank how well NBA teams are tanking – when owners and general managers of NBA teams that have little expectation of winning intentionally put together a losing team. Coaches are in on the scam, but hardly ever complain in order to protect their jobs and keep their players motivated. Tanking is one of the worst kept secrets in sports. Of course, the NBA denies tanking exists and the league has taken measures to discourage the practice.
- Column: Black Players in MLBApril 29, 2013
On the eve of the release of the movie “42,” the historical recounting of Jackie Robinson’s 1947 debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig formed a committee to determine why the percentage of American-born black players in the Major Leagues has fallen by more than half, from 19 percent to 8.5 percent, since 1986. There is an element of irony in the timing of the release of the movie and the formation of the committee, both coming mere days before the NFL draft. The NFL and the NBA have long been accused of drawing talented black athletes away from the diamond. According to some experts, the instant recognition and riches of football and basketball, as exemplified by the glitz and glamour of the NFL draft, are reasons why black athletes are attracted to those sports over baseball. They may be right. After all, we live in an instant gratification world, one where riding buses for up to 14 hours at a time, playing before family and friends in small towns and eating three meals per day on $22 for 4-5 years – the norm for Minor League Baseball players before they reach the Major Leagues - is a hard sell.
- Column: Rutgers' FiascoApril 8, 2013
Thoughts and suggestions on the travesty at Rutgers University... By now, most Americans have viewed the tape of Rutgers’ former basketball coach, Mike Rice, kicking his players, hurling basketballs at them from point-blank range and bombarding them with homophobic slurs during a team practice. Rice, who has apologized publicly for his actions, claims he was merely trying to “motivate” his players. A number of coaches and commentators have said there’s a fine line between motivation and Rice’s outrageous conduct. They either haven’t watched the video originally aired on ESPN or they’re myopic. The gulf between motivation and the conduct engaged in by Rice is a chasm as wide as the Atlantic Ocean and as deep as the Grand Canyon.
- Column: The Big EastMarch 18, 2013
The Big East Conference’s post season tournament held at Madison Square Garden last week was billed as the last of its kind. Fortunately, that won’t be the case. As you may have heard, the former Big East Conference has been ravaged, from inside and out. After next year, Louisville is off to the ACC and Rutgers to the Big Ten. In response to the conference’s recent emphasis on football, seven members - dubbed the Catholic Seven - that count basketball as their prime sport, elected to leave and form a new conference. The new conference will officially be named…the Big East. That’s right. Negotiations on an exit fee with the “old” league led to the purchase of the Big East name, along with the league’s post season tournament contract with Madison Square Garden. We may not see a Georgetown-Syracuse matchup in a conference game, but the Big East name lives on. If you’ve been following college sports for the past few years, conference split-ups and reconstitutions are nothing new. Every major conference, and some minor ones, have added and/or subtracted schools. Some have done both, all in the name of that holiest of pursuits: To generate more revenue.
- Post: Jerry Buss: The NBA’s Bill VeeckFebruary 23, 2013
When Jerry Buss died last week at the age of 80, the NBA lost more than one of its owners. It lost the man who made the league what it is today.
When Buss purchased the Lakers, the Kings, and the Los Angeles Forum - along with a 13,000-acre ranch – from Jack Kent Cooke in 1979, the league was all but irrelevant. Buss set out to make the Lakers the hottest show in Hollywood. He introduced the Laker Girls and other entertainment designed to attract fans and to keep them entertained throughout the game. To Buss, sports was synonymous with entertainment. And along the way, the Lakers also managed to appear in 16 NBA finals, winning ten. They won more games than any other team during Buss’ tenure and are the most successful franchise in the history of the league.
Jerry Buss was to the NBA what Bill Veeck was to MLB, an everyman’s owner and marketer extraordinaire. He was also a visionary who wanted to win as much as entertain. Buss was known as a players’ owner who hired the best minds available - former GM Jerry West and former coach Phil Jackson come readily to mind – to run his franchise, paid them well and then stayed out of the way and let them do their jobs. There wasn’t a player in the league who didn’t want to play for the Lakers and Buss.
Like Veeck, Buss was one of a kind.
- Post: Billy Hunter’s DemiseFebruary 17, 2013
If the allegations against NBPA executive director Billy Hunter are true, he should consider himself lucky if he only pays with the loss of his job. The NBA players union voted to oust Hunter on Saturday, following a unanimous vote of the executive committee during the annual All-Star break.
In January, an independent law firm hired by the players association released a scathing report of Hunter’s conduct during the time he led the union. Among the findings were instances of nepotism, ratifying his contract without union approval, taking excessive vacation time, investing union funds in his son’s bank, and using union funds to purchase gifts for union members. In the wake of the report, Hunter fired family members from their posts, reduced his own powers, and made changes to union regulations. But for the players, it was too little too late.