NBA PM: Is Jordan the NBA’s Grim Reaper?
NBA PM: Is Jordan the NBA’s Grim Reaper?
There are those who credit Michael Jordan with saving the NBA.
Even though Larry Bird and Magic Johnson turned the league from a third-rate carnival in the late 1970s to a main attraction in the 1980s, some have rewritten history to cast Jordan as the ultimate hero. Jordan wasn’t the first to capitalize on endorsements and he didn’t christen the dunk contest, but he may have finally found a way to put his stamp on the game in a way that no one—not Bird, Magic or Julius Erving—has done before: he’s going to try to euthanize an entire season.
Jordan, as owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, is leading a group of 10 to 14 owners that oppose any deal that would grant the players over 50% of basketball-related income, a source told Howard Beck of The New York Times. That means when the players and owners sit down in Manhattan to negotiate on Saturday afternoon, any chance of a deal could be DOA. In fact, one “person who spoke with the owners” told Beck that Jordan’s group would even vote down a 50-50 split “if negotiations get that far,” because they’re still pushing for the players to take a 47% cut of BRI.
Most of the owners would take a 50-50 split, writes Beck, but not one of them is willing to give the players the 52.5% they’re asking for.
As Jordan, or anyone that read Steve Kyler’s NBA AM, would know, 50 players are threatening to dissolve the Union if it comes back with anything short of a 52.5% cut—a threat that could become a reality in the near future. The players would have to file a petition to decertify with the Players Association and the National Labor Relations board and then, as Steve Kyler wrote earlier, “the Union would have 45 days to hold a vote to decertify.” A simple majority is needed to push the vote in that direction.
So here we are. Michael Jordan and the “hard-line owners” know what’s at stake. They bought into the league under a previous collective bargaining agreement only to discover that they weren’t making a profit (or enough of a profit) and now they want to change the rules dramatically.
But the other owners don’t have the perspective that Jordan has, and so their greed isn’t as egregious as his. After all, Jordan played the game and was pulling down yearly salaries that aren’t even matched by today’s deals. Isn’t it hypocritical of him to tell this generation of players that they’re asking for too much?
Well there is one area where Jordan is very consistent: He likes to keep the biggest piece of pie for himself.
Back in 1996-1997, for instance, Jordan made over $30 million, which was more than all of his teammates combined. Even Scottie Pippen made less than $3 million that year.
Now Jordan thinks the players should make less than half of BRI and he’s willing to risk the Union’s decertification to get his way. Obviously he isn’t the only obstinate owner and the players should share some of the blame for the length of the lockout. But if this effort by Jordan and about a dozen other owners ends up killing the 2011-2012 season, he may very well be the symbol of the players and fans’ collective rage.
If there isn’t an NBA season this year, it will be very interesting to see what happens to Nike’s sales of Jordan sneakers.
Frye is Financially Prepared
There’s a perception that NBA players are not financially prepared for a prolonged work stoppage, but Channing Frye says he’s taken the necessary precautions. In an interview with KTAR in Phoenix (which was transcribed by Sportsradiointerviews.com), Frye explains why the players can get by without NBA basketball.
“I can only speak for myself, but I feel like we’re extremely well-informed for up to almost two years — ‘save your money, the owners are going to lock us out.’ You know, it’s not like this lockout is something new that just popped up at the end of the season. The owners have said to us two years ago almost, ‘we’re going to lock you out.’ So if people aren’t saving money, then I think we have available….I don’t know what the word is….we have people available to them to help them out during this time. I think right now it’s a chance for us to really step up and make sure that we’re getting a fair deal. During this whole process, it’s been tough and everybody’s kind of learned how to budget. Yes, we make a lot of money and this is just both sides need to come together for the betterment of basketball so that the fans can watch basketball.”
NBA targets India
The NBA admittedly has trouble competing with the NFL within the United States. Even commissioner David Stern has conceded that professional football is America’s first love. And while everyone involved with basketball is hopeful that can change, the reality is that the NBA’s greatest opportunity for growth is in international markets.
The league teamed with AEG back in 2008 to build 12 multipurpose arenas throughout China and now the NBA wants to replicate the project in India. The arenas won’t be as large (the ones in China were described as “NBA style”), but the aim is to erect 100 courts over the next five years for the world’s second-largest population.
“Our ultimate aim is to make basketball the number two sport in the country (after cricket),” NBA India director of development Akash Jain told the India Times. “We are seeking to do that by making a sustainable grassroots program in a minimum of 10 cities in India. We are looking to do that through school-based platforms.”
Unlike the NBA’s efforts in China though, the league is still searching for a partner.
“We are looking for partners to build infrastructure for the same and have a goal of building a (sic) 100 basketball courts in India over the next five years,” Jain continued. “We are exploring for the right strategic partners and for locations and (also finalizing) on the type of courts that we need to build.”
The Mahindra NBA Challenge will also be extended over the next three to four years, which means men and women in two different age groups will be able to compete for a national title.
“We have a long term commitment (sic) to develop the game in India,” Jain said. “We are not here for the short-term (sic). We have seen an increase in participation. Two players identified through the Mahindra NBA Challenge – Amritpla Singh from Ludhiana and Narender Grewal of Delhi – are now part of the Indian side (national team).”
Check Out: NBA TV
Since the NBA is locked out (I’m getting tired of starting sentences like that) NBA TV will be airing Euroleague Basketball thanks to a recent agreement between the two governing bodies.
One game per week will be broadcast in North America.
“We are pleased that the Turkish Airlines Euroleague will continue to be seen by basketball fans in the United States and Canada through NBA TV,” Euroleague Basketball’s Chief of Television and New Media Rights Officer Andrea Bassani said in a statement. “NBA TV is a favorite among basketball fans and television viewers in North America and our continued cooperation with them will help basketball-loving fans in America see the unique nature of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.”
This isn’t quite the silver lining NBA fans were hoping for, but at least it’s something.
More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to insure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @jfleminghoops, @TheRocketGuy, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @alexraskinNYC, @TommyBeer and @YannisHW.
NBA Chats: If you are looking for the next NBA Chat, you can find them here: Upcoming NBA Chats.