Tag Archives: LeBron James

How Social Media Will Eviscerate the Owners

There is no more optimism here.  With two weeks of the season easily canceled on non-issues such as the size of the luxury tax and the length of mid-level exception contracts, I now understand that the small-market/hawk owners weren’t just a small voice in the room, they were the room, and they forced David Stern into his second work stoppage in the last three tries.  The utterly perplexing, idiotic, stupefying decision by the NBA to irrevocably damage the reputation of the league (again) is beyond reproach, and right now I don’t have the energy or the will power to dissect an argument that obviously makes no sense.  As dear Alfred put it, “some men just want to watch the world burn.”  So here we are, the likelihood of a season starting on time now at 0%, and the likelihood of having a season at all dropping more and more by the minute.  But there is one silver lining that puts a smile on my face: the owners will eat this decision for decades to come.  Why? Twitter.

A few months ago my roommate introduced me to the world of 140 character status updates.  At least that’s what I thought of the service before I tried it.  A glorified circle-jerk of people putting up Facebook statuses in realtime.  But my opinion changed quickly.  A global trend could influence the viewpoints of hundreds of millions of people, all within the time it takes to refresh your twitter feed.  Instantly the middle man became obsolete.   Suddenly the amount of followers a person has is the currency that matters, not zeroes on the end of a paycheck.  While famous people are popular, so are those that took to the service early from their basements, gained a massive following, and now show up on the twitter feeds of thousands, or even millions, without the help of “professionals” whose job it was to spin and manipulate the facts until the “truth” was whatever they wanted it to be.

The PR people of 1998 (when the last lockout occurred) are akin to Best Buy in an Amazon world, or AOL in the time of Verizion FIOS.  With players now able to speak their mind uninterrupted, the fans have unprecedented access to the league’s players, from Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) to Jared Dudley (@jdudley619).  While the NBA has imposed draconian gag orders on its teams from discussing the lockout, NBA players have been taking to twitter, defending their position to fans, getting “mainstream” press coverage from their interactions, and slowly turning minds that were against them and building up confidence in those that already supported them.  While Steve Nash (@stevenash) and Derek Fisher (@derekfisher) have been communicating directly with fans, getting fans to understand that a union is a union if the workers are playing basketball or building cars, the NBA has been keeping their greatest weapons on the sidelines.  Mark Cuban (@mcuban) can’t say a word, but his players can eviscerate the league’s position and build up their own following without any type of repercussions from the league.

Granted, some players are just in it to build their brand (looking at you @RealLamarOdom), but many others are taking to Derek Fisher’s call to #StandUnited, and the outcome will only be viewed as utterly disastrous for the owners when they look back at the fallout from this lockout.  Sure, if you look at traditional venues for fan speak, such as Yahoo! Sports’ comments sections, you’ll see less love for the players.  But the people that the NBA cares about aren’t on Yahoo! and ESPN message boards, they are on twitter, tweeting at @StephenCurry30 to give them a good morning tweet or retweeting the #StandUnited tweets from @KingJames.  The future of the ticket-paying NBA fan base is literally speaking to the greatest basketball players in the world, and as history has repeatedly shown, those that connect most with the people will win the people’s hearts and minds.

The owners are banking on a backlash against the players a la 1998-1999, where the working man couldn’t understand how millionaire basketball players could complain about their paychecks.  But the world has changed dramatically in the last 13 years, in no small part due to the reckless actions of NBA owners and their kin outside of the game of basketball.  The uber-rich are no longer the toast of the town.  People are tired of the richest squashing on everyone else like bugs, and to display their distaste of such draconian tactics the world is putting its displeasure on display on none other than Twitter (#occupywallst anyone?).

I don’t want to lose a whole season.  I hate the idea of not being able to watch the Lakers crush through the regular season and fight their way back to the top.  But I hate even more the idea that the NBA owners are counting on me, a fan who regularly pays way more than I should to watch an NBA game, to turn against the players that are doing their best to connect with me, to get a deal done so they can get back on the court so they can pay their bills and play the game they love.  I’m not going to do it.  You can retweet me on that.

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Filed under NBA Lockout

Chris Webber Should Replace Mark Jackson

Mike Breen has been hassling Mark Jackson on national TV since he accepted the Warriors gig a few days ago.  While it may seem like all fun when listening on TV, the reality is that he and JVG know that without Mark Jackson, that announcing team has a lot less credibility and the personality dynamics will go to shit.  So while I was watching Lebron piss away another “most important game of [his] life,” I realized the NBA would be losing a key component of its recent TV success if they didn’t find a way to keep Breen and Van Gundy on the air together.  That, obviously, means replacing Mark Jackson with someone of equal caliber.  They can’t bring in Dennis Miller.

It’s interesting that I feel this way.  At one point during the 2010 Finals I wished there was a Mark Jackson mute button.  But the more I think about it, the more I realize that his insights into the game are directly attributable to his immense knowledge of basketball, being one of the best point guards of the modern era.  Also, his personal relationship with JVG is unmatched.  That may be irreplaceable.  But if you are looking for a smart, intelligent, well-versed TV personality to replace Mark Jackson, there is no better choice than Chris Webber.  Why? I give you one example.

Nothing more needs to be said.  Any one that tells David Khan to his face how awful he is deserves to be on television (or in the GM suite).  In any case, Webber has my pick for the NBA on ABC team for 2011-2012.

 

Follow Nihar on Twitter @niharjshah

Got hate? jimbussheroes@gmail.com

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Filed under Hypotheticals

Afternoon Delight

Its the end of the day, so throw a few back and read a little bit of nonsense happening around Hollywood:

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Everyone Wants to Be Like Mike

And now the head coach of your Los Angeles Lakers, Miiiiiiiiiike … Brown?

I haven’t heard Lawrence Tanter recite that name yet, but I doubt it will ever stop being weird.  Mike Brown.  Good ol’ Mike Brown.  The only thing I remember about Mike Brown coaching in the NBA is that he had the best player on the planet, they were always pretty good, but never good enough to win a title.  Sorry, Mike.  This isn’t Cleveland.  In Hollywood we expect rings, banners, jerseys waiting to be retired on the court and Jack Nicholson on the sidelines.  We expect zen and confetti.  We expect results.  You can’t possibly be the guy.  You were Lebron’s guy, and look where that got you.

Here’s what the basketball analyst in me says: Mike Brown has a Coach of a Year award.  In his last two seasons he had 127 wins and 37 losses.  Phil Jax? 122 and 42.  His teams finished near the top of every major defensive category for every year he coached Lebron James.  Its not his fault Delonte West happened.  Its not his fault Lebron James wasn’t ready to be the One.  With the greatest off into Montana’s sunset, the Lakers don’t have time to think about his legacy.  The window is closing, and the veterans needed a guy to bring a fresh take and new schemes that will modernize their game.  For all the knocks he takes, Jim Buss is a fighter, and Jerry Buss won’t see his last few years on this Earth with a broken team.  They made a pick, and the Buss family has managed 15 Finals appearances in 31 years, I don’t see a reason to stop trusting them now.

But, I bleed purple and gold.  And as a Lakers fan I am banging my head against the wall watching the Mavs and the Heat play for OUR title.  Every year is my year, and every coach is expected to be the person to bring home some jewelry.  So Mike, you might pass the stat sheet test, but you’ve yet to pass the ring test.  Are you going to be Phil Jackson? Or Pat Riley? Or are you going to be Rudy Tomjanovich?  Or Paul Westhead?

Your time is now Mike, and we’re all watching.

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Filed under Great Expectations

The Grudge Match!… Kinda.

I really wish the Lakers were in the finals right now.  As far as Lakers fans go, my sentiments are not so unique.  I expect to win, I expect success.  So much so that I have created a scenario that, for me, morphs this years’ NBA Finals into the grudge match, Lakers vs. Celtics that I’d hoped it would be.  The Mavericks and Heat are not only the two teams that dismissed the defending Eastern and Western Conference champions from the playoffs, but they are two teams specifically built to compete with the Lakers and the Celtics.

I explain…

Obviously the original “Big Three” inspired the new South Beach version, but the process began years ago when they knocked LeBron out of the playoffs in 2008 and 2010 and eliminated Wade in 2010.  (Note: The Celtics faced Wade, LeBron, Dwight Howard, and Kobe last year, 4 out of the top 5 MVP candidates, saved the best for last and came up short.  Suck it Boston.)  The Mavericks added two seven-foot centers in Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood to combat the Lakers giant front line.

I’d like to think they strategically added JJ Barea but I’m not going that far.

If Lakers fans didn’t already have a good enough reason to cheer for the Mavs over the Heat, now they do.  Think of it as a team built to beat LA vs. a team built to beat Boston.  Our style vs. their style.  West vs. East.  No matter how it is spun, GO LAKE—I mean Mavs!

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Filed under Hypotheticals