While in Florida last night, Stern made some comments that are utterly contradictory to his previous comments and an insult to common sense.
He said that there would be a five team division in Europe within 10 years. The way he outlined it, Miami would fly to Paris for a couple of days, and then play each time in NBA Europe twice. Not only were his comments absurd beyond belief (the logistics of sending the entire American NBA to Europe for 2 weeks or more for example) even HE acknowledged that he made essentially the same promise 5 years ago.
Jump with me for further analysis and the Stern-o-meter (pat pend) evaluation of Stern's latest commentary.
Nice jump! I stuck that landing!
Let's look at this for a moment. Let's pretend I'm an insanely wealthy second-generation piece of Eurotrash with money to burn. I've always wanted to own a professional sports franchise. I won't buy a cricket team because I refuse to to put money into a sport where it seems even half the players don't understand the rules. So let's check my options...
Football (soccer) is the most popular sport on the planet. Virtually every team turns some kind of profit and it's the fastest growing spectator sport in terms of attendance and popularity. But on the other hand...
I got a call from this guy David Stern in America. There are numerous pro basketball leagues all over Europe and even Asia, Australia, and Africa. It too has massive growth potential. Stern wants to expand the American NBA to Western Europe. The positives:
1. Basketball IS becoming very popular here. It's so popular in fact, that a number of American players have been lured across the pond by million dollar contracts and the promise of extensive minutes on the court.
3. The NBA is a marketed brand and every time the USA sends a "Dream Team" to the Olympics, sales of NBA merchandise soar through the roof!
4. Once some of the elite players have a chance to actually experience Europe's lifestyle it will be easier to convince them to come here permanantly.
1. According to this same Stern guy, the NBA is losing hundreds of millions of dollars per season. If it isn't profitable in the land where it was born, why should I believe it will suddenly become lucrative by expanding?
3. Just a week ago Stern talked about actually closing down several teams in order to save money. I'm not going to throw $300 million or more into an investment only to be told a few years later that I'm being forced out of business. Just because I inherited my fortune that doesn't mean I'm stupid enough to waste my money like that. I'd rather spend it on trips to the Riviera and buying houses for young Swedish porn stars. I have to be fiscally responsible, after all.
4. Even the nouveau riche like myself know that you don't expand and consolidate your business at the same time. Even our women know that you can't expand and contract at the same time without extensive plastic surgery!
5. The American papers are full of stories about labor trouble so severe that the entire league may well close down for part or all of the next season. Do I really want to buy into those kinds of problems?
Let's face it. Stern has worked very hard to build the popularity of the game overseas. He's been so successful at it that a lot of players are leaving the NBA to play for teams in rural China, Egypt, Italy etc. I'm not just talking about the Iversons of the world that are leaving because they have no other options, I'm talk about some legitimate talent. He's done a great job internationalizing the sport. But he hasn't branded the NBA nearly as well. American ballers are viewed as arrogant bullies that maul weaker teams on the court while partying and shooting at each other off the court.
When I plugged this all into the Stern-o-meter (pat pend) it spat out some additional opinions.
What sort of idiot is Stern anyway? Does he really think he can cry about the league losing $400 million a season and sell the league as a money-maker at the same time? Where is the logic in threatening to shut down teams with underperforming balance sheets while marketing the league to what are supposed to be long-term investment consortiums? Does he not think these people do due diligence before investing? Does he think that Europe isn't connected to the World Wide Web and the news services? They will know he's lying to either the American media and owners or potential investors in Europe. Who wants to invest that kind of money with a proven liar? Especially with the proliferance of scam artists and Ponzi schemes?
Finally, is Stern's opinion of the American fans, press, and players so low that he believes the won't see his posturing and constant lies for what they are?
Stern-o-meter official score - 87