My open letter to NBA owners, written as my way to deal with my disappointment this evening. And as I post it, I am wondering if Stern's absence today was part of the script. Now he can come swooping in like SuperCommish with a proposal that will break the impasse and save what is left of his legacy.
Dear NBA Owners:
I’m a fan of the NBA, a HUGE fan, and while suffering through my disappointment and sadness this evening after learning that talks had once again broken off, I suddenly realized whose money was being fought over – it’s MY money! MY money and that of my fellow fans that makes up the bulk of BRI.
Yep – MY money: my money to park in the parking lot of your publicly financed arena;
My money for season tickets –thousands of dollars for my lower level seat, because I want to be close to the action to see my players. And yeah, you already have that money in your account for this year;
My money for playoff tickets, if my team makes it that far;
My money for a fast food burger in the arena, priced almost twice as much as the same burger would be at an off-site fast food restaurant, or I could dine in the club level at the buffet for a really insane chunk of change;
My money for a beer, just one, for around $7, or a soda for more than I’d pay for a 12- pack at the grocery;
My money for my favorite player’s jersey, a couple of team t-shirts, and a logo sweatshirt – and this money goes into BRI, too;
My money to attend the team’s annual fundraising dinner – okay, this benefits the team charities and isn’t part of BRI, but the good will spread at the dinner leads to a more favorable public perception of the team and increases ticket sales;
My money for an NBA League Pass subscription, around $180 a season, and I know the league gets a cut of this, too. I don’t want to miss a single game with my players, and I enjoy watching other teams as well;
My money to purchase tickets in out of town arenas to follow my players on the road;
Yep, I spend this money because of MY PLAYERS. I’ve never watched a single game so I could see my owner. I’ve never purchased a t-shirt with my owner’s picture or name on it. The game is about the players and their relationship with their fans – it’s not about you.
So, since it’s my money and I have a big stake in seeing this resolved, get back to the negotiating table, talk about all the issues, and present some proposals that you know have a reasonable chance of being accepted by the players, and let’s get back to basketball – before I decide to spend MY money on a trip to Europe. That’s my position: Take it or leave it.