A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
The Utter Stupidity Of A Union Suing Over Something They Knew About For Weeks
Now I’m not going to totally dismiss the union’s argument because when it comes to the livelihood of the players, it should have a big say so. However here’s where I have a problem with every member of the union and the executive committee running the organization; you knew about the dang ball for at least three months. As a matter of fact, the players knew about the ball change all the way back in February. How do I know? Because I have a 2006 NBA All-Star ball sitting up in my girlfriend’s apartment. I know it’s the real thing because we were one of the ones who paid the c-note for it and yes it is the same dang ball that the union is complaining about now. That means that guys like Antonio Daniels, Derek Fisher, Shaq and others have known about what the ball was, how it bounced and other things a lot longer than me or anyone who purchased that darn thing in February. My problem with the union is that once again they are a dollar short, a day late and as usual, twenty steps behind the owners on handling what is best for their members.
A union is supposed to be galvanized and ready to take on such measures before they are implemented. As I write this op/ed, some 250 games have been played to date since the beginning of the regular season and countless other games in the pre-season and hundreds of hours of practice have taken place with the new ball. Hello, William Hunter, are you reading what I am saying? AD, you feeling me on this? Fish, you picking up what I am putting down? If not let me spell this out to everyone: gentlemen, you should have bitched and griped about this darn ball in the summer when the league sent it out to you. You should have griped about it during exhibition games and you definitely should have griped about it in February when you had some time with it the first time.
The union is once again trying to fight the battle from the rear and they are going to lose this battle. To begin with, statistics show that the points are up and that many players, namely shooters, have seen their scoring go up. I don’t hear Kobe Bryant, err 8 to the 3rd power, and say he hates the ball. Not after his 52-point performance. I don’t hear anyone complaining after their team has scored 100 plus points on a consistent basis. To be honest, if the scoring is up and players have gotten accustomed to the new ball, what’s the gripe? Right now I think it’s a moot point.
The NBPA should have a say so in what goes on with its members and their livelihood. But this lawsuit over the ball? Come on people get over it already. The league got what it wanted and Spalding is happy with what it has too. Unless the union is going to do a mass sit out and not play any games for a week, the owners and the league don’t give a flip about what the complaints are. And we all know that the union and the players don’t have the balls [pun included] necessary to tell the league, “We will not play with this new ball this week”.
Oh and on that other lawsuit about the zero tolerance on the calls, guys again, quit bitching about the fouls and just play the game. Maybe it’s time the players learn the rules a little bit better.
WILL THE DUKIES BE OWNERS BEFORE THE NEW YEAR?
It seems that Brian Davis and Christian Laetner are moving forward in becoming owners of the Memphis Grizzlies. Davis, who is looking to be the controlling partner of the majority ownership group, will be putting in about $40 million of his own money into the $252 buying price.
“During this process, I can’t make my investors public,” Davis said Friday night, though unveiling that he and business partner Laettner would have two to five partners.
I’m still kind of puzzled by his math because $40 million of the $252 million asking price does not give him controlling interest. Actually $150 million would do the trick and unless he plans on financing that large amount of the price for himself, I think Davis’ aspirations are a little ‘airy’ to say the least.
Understand the concern I am laying out in front of you. Davis wants to become the second African American owner in the NBA and he is not ponying up enough cash to do so. The Grizzlies are worth $360 million and if the majority share is worth $252 million, that means that the minority group owns the remaining $108 million. If Davis were serious, then he would have to purchase a majority share of $108 million plus another $30 million to $52 million of that majority share to trump the minority percentage.
If this seems complicated, then join the club. I’m confused on the fact of why Davis won’t come out and say who his partners are or the mere fact that he is making himself look like he can’t afford to buy the team. Just my own discombobulated thoughts on the matter.
FINALLY A WORD FROM THE AUSTIN FAMILY I got an e-mail from Chase Austin’s mother the other day and she let me know that Chase is doing well despite the struggles that he continually has in trying to become a professional race car driver on the NASCAR circuit. The e-mail read in part: “We have developed a relationship with Leslie King who is Nelly’s attorney. He did some free legal work for us late last summer and became very fond of Chase. He reached out to a few companies and put together a deal with a company who is currently in the NASCAR sponsorship family for Chase. Unfortunately, the deal fell apart. NASCAR approached the sponsor with some other opportunities and they elected to go that route instead of sponsoring Chase. Hopefully, Les will continue to utilize his celebrity and business contacts to try to find some funding for Chase.
Les talked with a number of celebrities who have been positive about Chase, but very negative about NASCAR. Michael Jordon was one of the athletes that Les spoke to. Since Michael and Nelly are both owners of the Charlotte Bobcats, Les sees Michael quite a bit and mentioned Chase to him. Michael, along we several other celebrity/athletes that we reached out to were very negative about NASCAR. We are having a difficult time connected with minority owned businesses or wealthy individuals who are willing to get involved in the sport.
We have been contacted by Terrance Mathis, but he has no sponsorship and after a year and a half of trying to start a team, he does not appear to be any further along than when he started.” As I read the e-mail I again understood why Marianne Chase was happy I did a story on her son but then again I also began to get highly upset with my own community. Let me throw out the double standard card again and this time I am aiming it right at the rich hip-hop moguls, entertainers and others who claim they want to be diverse in their holdings. Here is a family who is trying to break into a sport and they are not finding any suitors who are willing to invest in a winning product. I then look at how they and Terrence Mathis tried to get a relationship going and how that is sitting in the garage as well. My frustration is showing because here is a sport that needs African American representation and we, as African Americans, fail to realize just how popular this sport can be in our own community but also how much of a business boon this can as well.
A while back I wrote a piece about how teams like Mathis, Austin’s and others get very little to no support from their Black community and/or the businesses. I will not forget a meeting I had with two local drag racers and they explained to me about the Black drag racing event that is held every year and how guys like Jay-Z are seen just during that one time. For all the success that so many say that Jay-Z is in the business world, I think this is the most foolish thing for him and others to not have racing sponsorships with Black racing teams. Jordan would rather lend his name to a team that is overseas instead of helping a team that is based out of the Maryland area. Jay-Z would rather brag about his 10% ownership in the New Jersey Nets instead of taking his brands of Rockawear and Amadale Vodka and splashing those brands on the racing teams who have Black drivers and who can definitely make their product known. Imagine what the Rockawear product would be if the logo was prominent on a Mathis/Austin/Brown racing team that has Mathis and former Oakland Raider Tim Brown as the owners and with Chase Austin and Marty Buckles at the wheel?
As much as I am complaining about how these individuals are being treated in the Black community, I can’t say I’m doing my fair share either. But then again I am willing to at least do something; even if right now it’s just about writing about the trials and tribulations that these teams are going through. Heck I know what a $50k sponsorship may do for a racing team like Austin’s or Mathis’. I know that if I had that kind of money, I’d probably throw it into the NHRA team of Nicole Lyons or Candyee Marsh.
The point is that successful Black businesses need to follow suit of their non-colored counterparts and realize that the new age of marketing and advertising is on something that breaks the legal speed limit and is seen on television and that drivers of color, like Candyee, Austin, Nicole and others need the dollars necessary to make their dreams come true. It takes money to win a race folks but one thing is for certain, every major sponsor wants to be latched onto a winning product. Very few however are willing to be the first to fund a product that doesn’t have that winning tradition just yet.