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: 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 30, 2010 8:45 am
Posted by Royce Young
Posted on: July 28, 2010 4:19 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 4:29 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
Hey, what haven't we written about for thirty seconds? I know! LeBron!
Today's tale is especially gooey though. It involves chap stick, champagne poured out, women in a bathtub, and the continuing self-demolition of LeBron James' public persona.
Arash Markazi is a columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com . Last weekend, while King James and his merry men were partying in Vegas, Markazi was invited along for the festivities. This isn't anything new. Media members are occasionally privy to such events as part of a profile, but the events are almost always considered off-record. Markazi was apparently not under that impression, at least when he filed.
Markazi's story went up this morning at this link (link now = very dead). Within the hour, it was taken down again. Whoops. Something went up that shouldn't have. Unfortunately for the poor folks at ESPN.com's editorial department, in this day and age, someone managed to extract a copy of it. And it now lives on the Internet forever , among the weeds.
So what was it in that article that brought so much attention?
There's nothing in the article that is particularly shocking. Millionaire 25-year-old parties like a rock star, par-parties like a rock star. The problem is that it represents yet another blow to the hollowed out wreckage that is LeBron's public image. Furthermore, even though hardcore NBA fans, media, and personnel are fully aware that this is the kind of life James leads, it's still not the image he wants to project to the mothers of the ten year olds buying his shoes/lunchboxes/cereal/colognes. So what does the article say exactly? Let's go to the tape!
Want references to scantily clad women? You got it!
"The waiter bringing him his cup of green tea with a spoonful of honey and a dash of lemon juice makes the cut, as does the scantily clad brunette with a tattoo of a heart on her right shoulder. She wants to take a picture with him. "I can't right now," says James. "Maybe later, upstairs, I'll remember you're the one with the tattoo."And then later:
Bottle after bottle of "Ace of Spades" champagne is delivered to the table by a waiter flying down from above the dance floor like some overgrown Peter Pan on a wire. One time he's dressed like a King, another time as Indiana Jones and another in a replica of James' No. 6 Miami Heat jersey. James, who can hardly see the flying figure through his tinted glasses, almost gets kicked in the head on the waiter's last trip down. He looks at the girls around him and says, "I wish they'd have one of these girls with no panties do that instead of the guy."Well, hey, LeBron's not married. Not really any of our business. But it certainly doesn't paint the image that James wants to in light of the backlash he's faced since "The Decision."
The article features an inside look at how James behaves in close company. Not only James, in fact, but head of LRMR marketing Maverick Carter, who has emerged as the the dominant force behind James' decisions since hitting free agency. So a man of that kind of power, responsible for the business decisions of one of the most powerful people in sports today is probably reserved and in control, right?
Carter, LeBron's childhood friend and manager, begins dancing around James like Puff Daddy in a Notorious B.I.G video. A giant red crown-shaped cake is brought over to James while go-go dancers dressed in skimpy red and black outfits raise four lettered placards that spell out, "KING." Carter grabs a bottle of Grey Goose and pours a quarter of it on the floor and raises it up before passing it off.Well, okay, that's a different approach.
Want to know exactly how ridiculous the entire spectacle is? Glen Davis thinks LeBron was acting a fool. That's right. The guy nicknamed "Big Baby" who was compared to Shrek thinks James is over-the-top:
Toward the end of the night, Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis walks past James' party and looks at the scene up and down several times like a painting in a museum, soaking in the images of the go-go dancers, the "King" sign and the costumed man delivering bottles of champagne.Burn!
I'm not even going to touch the flying waiters in Indiana Jones outfits. (I thought they named the hooker Indiana. Or am I getting that quote wrong?)
Allright, but the story was only up for a few minutes and then taken down. Surely no one's had time to already start making fun of...
Oh, and that .
Oh, geez , the "nexus of insane wealth and mega-celebrity." Well played, SBNation.com.
For James' part, Darren Rovell is reporting that his team has said they did not have any part in the piece getting pulled. And ESPN has come back with an official quote , first reported by Rovell, and told to FanHouse and our own Ken Berger:
"The story should have never been published. The draft was inadvertently put on the server before going through the usual editorial process. We are in the midst of looking into the matter.”Oh, so that's what happened. A story outlining the most powerful figure in the NBA whose public image has been tarnished outlining his rather opulent weekend in moderate detail just got slipped onto the server.
That guy that lost the iPhone 4 is going to have nothing on whatever poor guy screwed this up.
We shouldn't overreact to this, there should be nothing in this article that stuns us. James does nothing illegal, inbibes no illegal drugs, says nothing of real controversy. He's just your average, run-of-the-mill, mega-star with millions of dollars being treated like a god in the most opulent place on Earth. He's a lot like you and me, actually, if we routinely faked playing basketball in casinos and hung out in places with naked women in bathtubs with rose pedals as decoration (my wife prefers paper lamps). Really, part of LeBron is inside all of us. I'll let you figure out which organ that is, in particular.
(Image via: Ball Don't Lie )
Posted on: July 23, 2010 1:47 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Dwyane Wade appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night and talked a lot about the whole situation in Miami. Well, actually Jimmy Kimmel just pretty much prodded Wade a bit, and made fun of the Knicks. It's good stuff. One interesting note: Sounds like Wade's eight-year-old son is actually the architect of all this.
Posted on: July 22, 2010 2:36 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2010 9:47 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Nobody is blaming Chris Paul for wanting out of New Orleans. The roster is a wreck, the Hornets fired a coach he liked, fired their general manager and ownership is changing hands. There's no direction and really, no immediate success on the horizon.
And today, CP3 got an endorsement for someone that may sour some on Paul's demands. LeBron James tweeted: "Best of luck to my brother @oneandonlycp3 . Do what's best for You and your family." At this point, LeBron endorsing CP3's idea to leave his club is like Bernie Madoff recommending the next Secretary of the Treasury.
Brian Windhorst of the Plain Dealer put it rather brilliantly in just 140 characters : "These days 'brand management' & 'doing what is best for your family' apparently means turning off as many of your fans as possible. "
It's almost getting to the point where someone could commit armed robbery or sell meth and it would be justified as long as they precluded it with a, "I'm going to do what's best for me and my family." Wait, actually that's the plot of Breaking Bad and honestly, within the context of that show, it makes total sense.
But this isn't life or death here. This is basketball . If I were being careless with words, I'd make some sort of comparison to the World Trade Center or poverty in Africa here. But that's the point - this line of looking out for number one is getting old, because we all really know it's just an excuse to get what you want. It's not about the greater good, it's about numero uno. Doing what's best for "me and my family" really just means, "Where am I going to have the on-court success, get the glory I feel I deserve and make bunches of money?"
What's interesting is that LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul all just made a trip out to Vegas to talk to Team USA as they prepare for the World Championships. So it's clearly interesting that LeBron wanted his encouraging note to CP3 to be public. He could've just leaned over and told him while out in Vegas together. And no one is so naive to think that Paul hasn't talked to LeBron and Wade about all this anyway. Maybe that's where the original seed was planted. Paul is repped by the same agent as LeBron so the people that orchestrated the King's departure from Cleveland could surely manufacture the same for CP3 and New Orleans.
The thing is, it's not a bad thing at all to do what you want to do. Actually, it's a good thing! LeBron wanted to go to Miami. He didn't really hurt his reputation in my mind, he just hurt his legacy. And if he's fine with that, I have no qualms. Paul could escape NOLA and be the good guy. He wouldn't take near the blowback LeBron has received and CP3 will be seen as the victim. Nobody would blame him for leaving.
But Windhorst's point remains - just because you do what you want doesn't mean everyone is going to be behind it. Paul's efforts to get out of New Orleans has already surely hurt his standing with the Hornet fanbase. But it's not about that for CP3. It's about brand, about money and about what's best for me. And I'm not entirely sure that's really such a bad thing. Or is it?
Posted on: July 22, 2010 9:24 am
Edited on: July 22, 2010 12:40 pm
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Posted on: July 19, 2010 5:13 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2010 5:33 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Regardless of the fact Dwyane Wade was originally misquoted, this isn't the smartest statement in the world. And wisely, he issued an apology on it .
We've had many folks misuse the horrific tragedy analogy/simile over the past few years. North Carolina coach Roy Williams' quote last year about comparing a disappointing season at UNC to the earthquake in Haiti comes to mind pretty quickly. Hard to really nail that comparing-thousands-of innocent-lives-lost-to-actually-mea
ningless-basketball-games zing. I think right now, the hit-to-miss percentage on it is something like zero to negative 50 percent.
Wade's was much, much less harmless as he was trying to make the point that losing a few basketball games isn't anything like a catastrophe. Which is the exact opposite of Williams' Haiti quote and is also entirely accurate. Even still, it's always just best to avoid these types of things in general, otherwise you'll find yourself issuing a PR apology over it.
Anyway, here's the video of Wade's WTC quote: