Posted on: August 3, 2010 8:10 pm
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Posted on: August 3, 2010 4:21 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
As part of our continuing coverage of "the NBA can't keep a secret in any way, shape, or form..."
The NBA likes to save its most hyped games for Christmas. It's the first real holiday that it lays claims to each year. The last few years it has been Lakers-Celtics in the yuletide rumble. This year, the hype created by the LeBron James-Chris Bosh-Dwyane Wade trifecta has created a new mega-match. The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers will host the Heat on December 25th, according to Ira Winderman of the Miami Sun-Sentinel .
There's no "proving it" to NBA television marketing executives like there is among other players in the league. Those people know that people want to see the Heat, even with as sick of the Heat's PR trainwreck as they are. One mistake though is that Winderman's article mentions that the Heat won't play on MLK day.
The league has been pushing MLK day as an NBA holiday the last few years, and it's one of the few times when they have a number of people off work with no competing sports or family interests. The work they've done in highlighting that day with sextuple headers has worked well for showcasing the league. Omitting the Heat that day seems to take the holiday down a notch. But maybe that will give them the rare opportunity to show off the smaller markets that are likely to be even more overlooked than usual this year with all the superteams forming.
But for Christmas, you can expect a healthy feast of hype when Kobe-Pau-Odom-Artest-Bynum meets Bosh-Wade-James-Chalmers . And really, what says Christmas like hype?
Posted on: August 3, 2010 1:50 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2010 1:51 pm
Posted by Royce Young
At one point, I really liked Dwyane Wade. It was when he was one of the hardest playing, hardest working players in the league. He always brought it every night, was incredibly talented and carried sub-par teams to higher levels.
Well, I guess nothing has changed with him in that regard. I guess the reason I don't really care for him now is because he won't stop opening his mouth.
To the Miami Herald, he said: "I understand people are going to say stuff. And we accept it with open arms,'' Wade said. "And even on the road, because every place is going to sell out when we come to town. So [opposing teams] can thank us now .''
Oh puh-lease. Give me a break. Look, everyone knows the Heat are the talk of the league. Heck, they're the talk of sports. While Wade's statement isn't untrue in the slightest, the arrogance is becoming so thick you'd need a lightsaber to slice through it.
It's one thing to be good. It's another thing to be good and tell everyone about it. The Heat are going to be quite a draw. They're going to win games. They're going to be talked about constantly. But let other people do the talking, Dwyane. The whoie world already doesn't like your team and unless that's the angle you're going for, these type of comments sure aren't helping things.
Posted on: August 3, 2010 10:13 am
Posted by Matt Moore
What logic does this make? What possible sense could this be built from? What line of thought would take him down this road?
LeBron James bought ad space in the Akron Journal to thank fans there and send a message that his heart is still there. It was a decent gesture that should have been made weeks ago. The day after "The Decision," actually. But what was missing from the letter is what was most relevant.
The word "Cleveland."
Andrew Sharp of SBNation.com weighs in on why this shouldn't be a big deal. And he's right. It shouldn't be a big deal. It shouldn't be a deal at all. It could have been a non-story, something marginal that takes even a half-pinch of sting off the mountain of anger and resentment from Cleveland towards a player attempting to become the most popular brand in NBA history (and failing miserably, but that's another issue). But it wasn't. And that's the question that needs to be asked.
What possible reason did LeBron James' camp have for not including the Cavs or Cleveland in this letter?
Sharp points out the myriad of reasons for James to slight Cleveland like this. Jerseys burned. Angry letters in Comic Sans. General hatred upon his departure after years of trying to make Cleveland into a winner. And those are all great reasons for someone to spite the city like that.
If that person is fourteen years old.
This is a business. That was the reason behind James' defection to Miami, behind "The Decision," behind all of this. This whole ordeal was meant to be the extension of James as a business entity in the world. And the business move here? The plain-clothed mention of gratitude to the state of Ohio, Cleveland, the Cavs, something that includes those people. Sharp's also right that it wouldn't have made anyone in Cleveland feel any better. But the point is that slighting them makes them feel worse. It makes James seem petty and small. It's not professional. Taking the high road isn't a noble cause, it's a protecting your Q Rating and shoring up your PR image. You don't do it to try and win back friends and make people love you. You win championships to win friends and make people love you. You take the high road to protect your interests and not make another blunder. And that's what James has done.
Maybe he's got a letter for the Plain Dealer and is just waiting to release it. But now if he does, it looks like a reaction to the scorn he's getting for ignoring Cleveland. This is not complex stuff. And it's yet another indication in a long stream of tiki torches that blaze a path to the same conclusion: LeBron James' management team, LRMR, is desperately out of its league and playing at a level it cannot compete at.
It's not that James was wrong for snubbing Cleveland. It's that it was just another bad business decision.
Posted on: August 3, 2010 8:27 am
Edited on: August 5, 2010 8:49 am
Posted by Matt Moore
The new NBA superpower in Miami will definitely have its hands full to start the season as the New Big 3 takes on the Old Big 3. Welcome to being the hunted, ring or no ring. The Boston Globe reports that the NBA season will kick off October 26th with the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics hosting the Miami Heat. If this report and the Orlando Sentinel report regarding the game against Orlando on the 28th are correct, it means two things.
One, Miami will immediately be under fire to produce wins. Starting the season off 0-2 would mean almost nothing in terms of their capacity as a team, but would result in a cataclysmic fire of negative press that would follow them until the notched several significant wins. Knocking off the Pacers on a Tuesday will not help things if they start off winless against the two best teams in the East outside of Miami, both of which have been to the Finals the past two seasons.
Two, the Heat will not open their own arena until at least Friday or Saturday, meaning it doesn't look like the NBA trusts the Miami market to create a particularly rowdy atmosphere, compared to what greets the Big 3 on opening night. Two road games against the two other top East teams? Baptism by fire, super-friends. Baptism by fire.
Meanwhile, the revelation that the season kicks off with Miami and Boston leads us to wonder what team the defending champion Lakers will face. Rampant speculation has suggested Oklahoma City, which would certainly bring the most high profile game for the Western second game of the expected doubleheader. Other possible options include the Suns, Nuggets, Spurs, and Mavericks.
We'll have more on the opening night matchups when the NBA officially releases its opening night, Christmas Day, and MLK day schedule tonight on NBATV.
Posted on: August 2, 2010 12:29 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2010 12:45 pm
Posted by Royce Young
When the Miami Heat formed a superteam, most around the league started to get excited about a potential mega-matchup in the state of Florida. The Magic are already a giant in the East and now their neighbor will be its arch nemesis.
And it appears the NBA is attempting to drive that idea home.
The league is set to announce a few marquee games tomorrow night during a television special, but leaks are bound to happen. One has, and it features the Heat and Magic, in a new arena. Oooh, ahhh.
Sports Business Journal is reporting the Magic will open the new Amway Arena in a game against the Heat on Thursday, Oct. 28 in a nationally televised game on TNT.
That should be... fun. Opening a new buulding is always a good time, but against an in-state rival that also happens to be the new super-villain in all of sports? I would assume we'll get one or two (or 500) good soundbites from outspoken Stan Van Gundy in the weeks leading up to the game.
The new Amway Center cost $480 million and holds 18,500 for basketball games. It also will host the All-Star Game in 2012, but I'm not sure that will even be the same level event opening night against Wade, LeBron and Bosh will be.
Posted on: July 30, 2010 6:20 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 6:39 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Typically, if you do your job really, really well, you get a promotion. Or you get a raise. Or at the very least, you get to keep your job.
But that didn't happen in Miami as the Heat fired its season ticket sales staff after the team sold out of season tickets. Ouch.
In a statement, the team confirmed the terminations Friday afternoon, saying that with an "exhausted'' inventory of season-tickets "we no longer require a season ticket sales team to sell tickets.''
Stephen Weber, vice president of sales, delivered the news to about 30 ticket sales people Friday morning, according to the story from the Miami Herald. Currently, the team's waiting list has more than 6,000 names on it. It's pretty evident that at this point, the Heat can sell tickets without even trying.
"They let us go because there was really nothing left to do anymore,'' a fired staffer told the Herald.
The statement also said: "While the decision to release part of our sales force was a difficult one, we greatly appreciate their contributions to the company. We have also hired a placement service to assist those individuals find new employment. Should any season tickets become available, they will be handled through our season ticket deposit program. We thank those employees for their time with the company and wish them success in their future endeavors.''
Obviously this seems like a major low blow. But as the staffer said, what were they really going to do? I wonder what places like Green Bay do with waiting lists that long. Still, firing a group of 30 after a job well done, has a funny taste to it. Or actually, is just downright mean.
Evidently, the Heat aren't worried about retaining the new season ticket holders. I guess LeBron, Wade and Bosh are supposed to take care of that.
Posted on: July 29, 2010 8:24 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 11:13 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
ESPN has released a statement to explain the series of events surrounding the phantom LeBron story which appeared briefly on ESPN's servers before being yanked. The story has come down that the problem lies not with James, nor with ESPN.com's editorial staff, but with the writer, Arash Markazi.
Rob King, Vice President and Editor-In-Chief, ESPN Digital Media released a statement today:
ESPN.com will not be posting the story in any form. We looked into the situation thoroughly and found that Arash did not properly identify himself as a reporter or clearly state his intentions to write a story. As a result, we are not comfortable with the content, even in an edited version, because of the manner in which the story was reported. We’ve been discussing the situation with Arash and he completely understands. To be clear, the decisions to pull the prematurely published story and then not to run it were made completely by ESPN editorial staff without influence from any outside party.
We knew the story was going to get complicated. James was clearly unaware that his actions were going to be reported on. The question was whether he was unaware Markazi was a reporter or if he was aware Markazi was a reporter but believed he was off-record. Now we have the official position regarding that.
So was what Markazi did unethical?
If this were a drug ring, Markazi could not identify himself as a reporter. He couldn't ask if people involved in illegal behavior were on-record without jeopardizing both his safety and the story. There are a number of illegal stories broken where a reporter has had to refrain from revealing both his position and intention.
LeBron James did not do anything illegal. He has done nothing against the law, nothing that would warrant this kind of deception. There's no crime in being an egotist, no fault that goes against human decency is partying like a rock star. He simply comes off looking bad. And that's not enough to warrant such tactics. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding. But the onus is on Markazi to notify James or one of his representatives that he is a reporter, and that he is writing a story on the night's events. LeBron James has every right to be whatever kind of person he wants to be at a private event held for him, among friends.
For his part, Markazi also released a statement, though I would not particularly call it contrite:
I have been in conversations with ESPN.com’s editors and, upon their complete review, understand their decision not to run the story. It is important to note that I stand by the accuracy of the story in its entirety, but should have been clearer in representing my intent to write about the events I observed.
ESPN takes a lot of flack for not being responsible with their coverage, and will of course take flack for protecting James' PR theoretical rear. But Markazi leaves little option by admitting he did not specify that what he saw that night would end up in front of the eyes of millions. Their hands were tied when Markazi did not approach the story with the right set of practices. We live in an age where the media seems to know no bounds. At some point, those lines have to be drawn by those with the most reach.
None of this makes any part of this story any less funny.