Pre-All Star Photo Gallery
February 14, 2009

That’s David Stern taking the opportunity to molest Paul Pierce as he and Shaq plant a tree in Phoenix.  I mean honestly Mr. Stern.  To cup Paul’s left breast like that is abhorrent.

You know.  You could have just tried a bottle of wine and some flowers.  Maybe he would have said yes.  Freak.

More photos of Paul’s tree planting and a Ray, his ring, and KG photo shoot… after the jump. (more…)

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NBA Layoffs
October 13, 2008

Remember when I questioned how the economy might affect ticket sales and sports as a whole?

Here’s one way:  The NBA is laying 80 people off.  Oh… and season ticket sales are dropping league wide:

LONDON — The NBA is laying off 9 percent of its work force over worries about the U.S. economy, commissioner David Stern said.

 

“We made a decision some months ago that the economy was going to be a bit wobbly, so we began a belt-tightening that will result in a work-force reduction of about 9 percent domestically,” Stern said Sunday, speaking before an NBA preseason game at London’s O2 arena.

This translates into about 80 jobs, he later told Reuters.

“There is a season-ticket renewal rate decline, and new sales are also being hit,” he said. “My guess is when [the regular season] kicks off, we will be down modestly in season ticket sales.”

The NBA is not recession proof… and neither are the Celtics.  They might be fine right now… but I’m telling you… we’re going to start hearing about the Celtics cutting back in a big way in the not too distant future.  The only saving grace is the fact that they’re good.  They NEED to keep winning titles just to stock up enough cash to make it through whatever lean times are coming. 

But don’t expect the C’s to keep paying the luxury tax when they don’t have to.  Those days will be coming to an end as soon as they can.

R.I.P. Seattle Sonics
July 3, 2008

Clay Bennett got what he wanted all along… The Sonics are leaving Seattle.  And David Stern sat back and watched.

“We made it,” Bennett said after stepping to an Oklahoma City podium featuring the NBA logo and the letters OKC. “The NBA will be in Oklahoma City next season.”

The settlement calls for Bennett and his Professional Basketball Club LLC to pay as much as $75 million to the city in exchange for the immediate termination of the lease. The team’s name and colors will be staying in Seattle.

Bennett bought the team under the false promise to keep the team in Seattle… even though he wanted to move that team to Oklahoma City from day 1.  David Stern knew it all along and he just sat back with that same smirk on his face… and he let it happen. 

I feel bad for hoops fans in Seattle.  They got robbed.  I know people in OKC proved to be good basketball fans in the after the post-Katrina Hornets days… and this is no commentary on their fanhood… but Clay Bennett robbed the people of Seattle. 

Just makes you appreciate our owners more.

The Donaghy Effect?
June 12, 2008

tim donaghyA couple of weeks ago, the NBA decided it wanted to get $1 million from Tim Donaghy as reimbursement for their investigation into his gambling (and also a little something… you know… for the effort).  Donaghy’s lawyers responded by dropping a bombshell that refs fixed past playoff games… and they did it right before the biggest game… of the biggest finals in years… with 2 of the top 7 television markets tuning in. 

Touche’.

Suddenly, the top story on morning talk radio is Tim Donaghy… not Celtics-Lakers.  ESPN’s SportsNation is asking if people believe the 2002 Lakers-Kings series was fixed… and 76% are saying “yes” right now.  It is a scandal that could be as big as steroids in baseball… in that people are starting to ask if outside agencies need to investigate… and if Congress needs to hold hearings.

And oh, by the way, what was the biggest story line coming out of Game 2?  The free throw disparity.

So here we are, heading into Game 4, and suddenly “Pierce-Garnett shooting woes” and “will Gasol or Odom show up” have been bumped down to the middle of the list of things most people are now watching for.  Everything on the list before those now have to do with the officials.

Now the question is… how will this affect the rest of this series? 

The referees aren’t just under the magnifying glass now… they’re the plastic army men I used to set up on the side walk… a split-second before I trained that beam of magnified sunlight onto their unsuspecting heads.  How will they react?

Will they live up to the perception that the superstars get all the calls?  That the home team gets the benefit of the doubt?  That the NBA will do what it needs to do to extend a series and maximize profit? 

Or will the refs call this one right down the middle… and a foul is a foul… whether it gets Kobe Bryant or Glen Davis in foul trouble or not.  Could tonight be the night where Kobe gets a couple of offensive fouls early while trying to be aggressive?  Will an over-emotional KG get tossed on a second technical?  Will Paul Pierce and Derek Fisher each end the game with 8 turnovers because the refs are calling every travelling violation?

And if the refs decide to make sure the fouls are all even and there isn’t even a hint of the appearance of impropriety… who does it benefit?  My feeling would be that if all things are equal, then its simply a matter of the better team winning… and I think that has clearly been the Celtics so far in this series.  But it will be interesting to see.

Oh… Of Course… Largest Aggregation Of Fans. Duh!
June 4, 2008

David Stern was asked to explain the late start times for the NBA Finals.

“The ad rates only go up if the ratings go up,” Stern said when pressed if ad dollars were a driving factor behind the late tip-offs. “The ratings only go up if there are more people watching and so NFL’s Monday Night Football, they moved it to 8 p.m. starts and fewer people watched. So they moved it to 9 because that’s where they were going to get the largest audience.”

Stern was then asked why the Super Bowl was scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start if the numbers showed more people tuned into NBA Finals games at the later hour.

“I don’t know,” Stern replied after a pause. “I don’t know why. I don’t know why … we have had three networks, CBS, ABC, and NBC who have told us that despite the maniacal rantings of East Coast radio, that we would get the largest aggregation of our fans if we do it as close to 9 p.m. as possible.”

Here’s the translation:

Advertisers dictate everything in the NBA.  Those advertisers don’t really care about the kids, because they’re selling their products to the adults.  They’re selling trucks and beer.  The kids stuff gets sold on Saturday mornings.  So to get the most adults that make enough money to buy stuff (oh…. like the 25-54 age group), the games start at a time where most of them will get a chance to watch TV.  That’s 6pm Pacific (even the late ones will tune in by the second quarter) and 9pm Eastern (the West Coast stragglers will make up for the “gotta get to bed at 11” crowd).  

So that’s that.  Now… the only people out there that can make a difference are those of you with ratings boxes.  I assume most, if not all, of us can watch the game an not affect the ratings because we don’t have the ratings boxes.

BUT… if any of you DO have a box… you CAN make a difference.  Watch the games at a friend’s house or a bar.  The ratings will show that you (and the thousands of people your ratings box entry represents) didn’t tune into the game.  Obviously… you did tune in.  But the box doesn’t know that.  The box registers that the game was off. 

It literally takes only a few people to shave full ratings points off the final numbers.  It would be nice if that could happen… just to send the NBA a little message.

Dear Mr. Stern
June 3, 2008

Aren’t I special. I received an email from NBA commissioner David Stern today touting the new All-Access portion of NBA.com. Check it out:

I hope you are enjoying this extraordinary season, filled with intense competition and exciting performances by the world’s greatest athletes. We are excited to announce the launch of All-Access–the NBA’s free, official membership program–and to welcome you as an inaugural member. All-Access provides you, our most passionate fans, with exclusive benefits and new ways to go behind the scenes and get into the action.

So I’ve taken the time to craft a response. Let me know what you think:

Dear Mr. Stern,

Instead of wasting your time with All Access why don’t you do something to improve the horrid work of your referees. On the heels of the Tim Donaghy scandal, I thought the NBA would make quality officiating a priority. However, fans were treated to a big, steaming pile of crap calls this playoff season. Joey Crawford, Bennett Salvatore and Ken Mauer, to name a few, continue to embarass themselves and the NBA. Just once, I’d like to see some consistency. While I have your attention, I want to personally thank you for starting all Finals games after 9pm EST. Nevermind us working folks, what about the fact that no one under the age of 15 will be unable to watch the second half of games? It’s clear you don’t give a damn about this generation of fans, and would rather grab the advertising cash.

Sincerely,

BigMck

 

Celtics Don’t Care What Stern Thinks
May 15, 2008

pregame

David Stern “suggested” that teams cut out all the fireworks.  The Celtics, much to my delight, don’t seem to care much about what he’s suggesting.

“We’re going to do our usual show, get the fans fired up, get the energy behind our players,” [Celtics team president Rich] Gotham said.  “It’s been working out pretty well so far, so good in the playoffs (at) home that we’re 6-0 (now 7-0). We’re a little superstitious; we’re not going to change anything just now.”

So the fireworks will continue until David Stern makes them care.  The Cavs had to send Ben Wallace and Delonte West back to the locker room for the intros because the pyro makes Benny dizzy and Delonte go blind in one eye… spurring yet another classic quote from Delonte:

“It’s hard to play this game with one eye unless you’re a pirate”

But I don’t wanna be a pirate.

As for the actual game… I want to thank Mike Brown for playing Zydrunas Ilgauskas only 26 minutes last night.  I mean… all he does is clog the middle and make Rajon Rondo think twice about launching floaters in the lane.  I watched Rondo make a move… get to the middle… and turn and run from Big Z like a scared puppy.

(more…)

Fire… BAD!
May 13, 2008

David Stern doesn’t like the pregame pyrotechnics

“It may be that these are the maniacal rantings of a fan from a different era, and I recognize that, but you know I’m sitting there waiting for the next cannon to go off, and then the fire heats up the arena so the temperature in the arena rises by 15 degrees — that’s if you can see it because you’re still waiting for the smoke, which is chemical, to clear, which is invariably done by the end of the half,” Stern said.

 

“But I always bite my tongue because I’m not the demographic that wants to be assaulted by loud rap, smoke, pyrotechnics and chemicals. It makes me sort of outdated, but I think it’s time for us to say, ‘Hey guys, let’s look at it one more time,'”

Look… what fan doesn’t want to sit there, sip on his tea, peer through his monocle and make quiet remarks that are barely audible over the squeaks of the sneakers?

Certainly not these fans.  I’m sure all the screams you hear during the pyrotechnics are wails of fear.

Stern a Gangbanger?
April 29, 2008

David Stern Has Amnesia
April 16, 2008

Earlier this week, David Stern cited the Celtics as a good example of how franchises can be turned around quickly.

“It’s been a spectacular story for us, obviously with the Celtics having an extraordinary one-season improvement; the best in NBA history,” Stern said Monday. “That’s a big issue,” he said. “That’s about management. In some cases it’s about the draft. In some cases it’s about trades. And in some cases it’s about free agent signings. I think what that does begin to show is that, you know oh ye of little faith. Continued good management can turn around the fortunes of franchises relatively fast, faster than we think, and that was certainly true in the case of the Celtics. I mean, that sets the tone. 
 
Oh yes, David. It was such a “quick” turnaround – as long as you only look at the difference between last season and this one. Anyone with a brain might want to factor in the Celtics road from suckiness to mediocrity and back to suckiness over the last 10+ years though. But you feel free to continue to skip through your life, secure in the “knowledge” that your economic system isn’t the least bit punitive to teams that either a) make one or two mistakes, b) get some bad luck from the idiotic lottery or the draft or c) play in cities that are undesirable for free agents.