Ok, I realize I am writing this out of pure emotion, but there is thought underneath all of that emotion. I am pissed after yesterday's "Lottery". I use the quotations for a reason. But more on that later. First I would like to tackle David Stern. Both figuratively and literally.
David Stern has been great for corporate sponsors, individual team owners, NBA investors and the players themselves. He took over the NBA and did a Vince McMahon. He turned a struggling, boring, organization that was televised late at night when hardly anyone was watching, and turned it into the Mega-Gazillion dollar giant it is today. He saw the marketing potential of Michael Jordan and rode those coat tails for as long as he could. By that time, the NBA had enough momentum that he could really tighten the screws.
Once Nike jumped on board and the marketing dollars came flying in, he horns and pitchfork soon appeared. We are now basking in the "franken-Stern" he has created. Now, the NBA is not only showed in primetime T.V. spots, but it is a world-wide organization and he, the owners, big business, and the players are raking it in. Our beloved game, is now officially a business. I realize this isn't any new revelation, but my last hope of it being a game again, is gone.
When the Kings lost to the Lakers in the ugly game 6, I was sitting in my one bedroom apartment. I barely had enough money for food, let alone cable and the internet, but I had both of those as well. (You all know how it is right? I mean you have to sacrifice a mayonaise sandwich or two for you cable and internet, i.e. porn). But I will never forget seeing Kobe elbow Mike Bibby with Bob Delaney not more than 10ft away and his eyes are fixed squarely on the play and he swallowed his whistle. As soon as the final buzzer sounded, I went online and sent an email to the NBA, addressed to David Stern, and told him I would never spend $1 on his product ever again.
Well, like all of promises and resolutions, that quickly faded when the next season came. But to this day, I have not bought a ticket to a Kings game. Yes, I have gone when invited but I have not bought one ticket. I have watched a lot of games since then (Kings and other teams) and I shake my head every time I watch. It is extremely bad when you can tell how a game will be officiated (and generally what the outcome is) when you know who the officials are. It is bad when Shaq leaves the Lakers and wins a title, but the most "exciting" player and one of the top selling jerseys in the league can't get out of the first round for a couple of years, so the NBA allows a trade like Pau Gasol for a roll of toilet paper and a Kit-Kat bar. It is bad, when now you have an aging star in Kobe Bryant, and the Lakers are probably about 2-3 years away from being average, and "Tah-Dah!!!" the other L.A. franchise gets the first pick in this year's "Lottery" (this is their second 1st overall pick, in 1998 the drafted Michael Olowokandi).
Meanwhile you have a struggling franchise in Sacramento, a team only a few years removed from being the most exciting team in the league and challenging for a championship year-in and year-out, an organization who is struggling to build an arena in its current city, speculation that the owner's want to move the team, for years have had the most loyal fans in the league, and last seaon the team looked like it should be in the developmental league and not the NBA, and won a total of 17 games (2 less than the next crappy team) and they get the 4th pick in this year's draft.
David Stern, how could you let this happen? Here is the main problem I have with the Lottery. Everything is so damned secretive. Now I guess there are representatives from every team in the room when the ping-pong balls go through the wheel, but why does it have to be done behind closed doors? Why can't the ping-pong balls be pulled on live T.V.? I mean, its already on prime time, you might as well do it then. Again, everything in the league is so secretive it drives me crazy.
Also, it is only recently (like this year) that you actually hear officials getting called out by the NBA for poor officiating. Why do you think that is? Why weren't they called out like this 10 years ago? Because the NBA knows fans (like me) are refusing to go to the games because the officiating is so poor (especially when you are playing an opposing team with a superstar, a la Kobe, Dwayne Wade, Lebron, etc). Why would I spend my money on a game when I know Dick Bevetta is going to officiate the Kings Vs. Lakers? I can tell you what the outcome is. Why do I want to go to a game and watch an official from the opposite side of the floor make a call for an official who is standing right in front of the play?
This is all David Stern's monster. The game caters to the superstars because the superstars make David Stern and the owners money. Can anyone honestly tell me that the Kings are on the same playing field as the Lakers or the Celtics or the Knicks? Can you tell me that Jason Thompson will get the same calls that Tim Duncan will get? Why is it that an L.A. team got the first pick this year? Why is it that the worst team by record in the NBA this past season doesn't have a top three pick (forget that the Kings should have the first overall pick)?
Does anyone here really think that the Nuggets have a chance against the Lakers or the Magic have a chance against the Cavs? This "Star Treatmen" bullshit has got to go. I will not attend a game next year, I will continue to not purchase a ticket to a Kings game and frankly I am not even sure I want to watch basketball anymore. Now I am sure that last part will change come October, but I will bet right now that the Lakers will win this year and Lebron will win it next year.
And to hear the names of coaches the Kings were interviewing: Eddie Jordan and Paul Westphal. Are you kidding me? Eddie Jordan had a very talented team with the Wizards (Arenas, Jameson, Butler) and couldn't win. Paul Westphal hasn't coached in the league for 10 years. And Rick Petino's name was also mentioned? You mean the guy who wouldn't play Chauncey Billups, that Rick Petino? This is all great timing for the Kings. They can't get an arena built, they have the worst record in the NBA, the name's for head coaching candidates suck ass, they get the 4th pick, geeez David Stern, I wonder if you want the franchise to move to another city?
I think it is easier to move a franchise than it is to create a new one. To move, all you would need is an excuse to get out. Well the Kings are losing money in Sacramento, so we better move them to a city who will sell out an arena, and probably build a new one within a couple of years of its tenure there. But to start a new one, you need investors and an arena already in existence? The city council here has pretty much given the middle finger to the maloofs and the NBA, so that doesn't help either (don't get me started on their inadequacies).
David Stern is already making plans to move this franchise. Of course he won't say it publicly. He will continue to say things like "our priority is to keep the Kings in Sacramento" or "this City has such loyal fans, they deserve to keep the Kings" or whatever spin he can throw out there, but its a line of bull. This Kings don't have the corporate sponsorship like other teams do, the fans don't go to the games (and for good reason) and the City Council doesn't want to build an arena. Sounds like it is easy to move the franchise.
And just because they keep pushing back the date for the unveiling of the arena and all of the cal-expo garbage and that drawing they were showing a few months back for the "new" cal-exp, is crock of shit. Right now there isn't a city for the Kings to move to, that is right now there isn't. So pretend to do everything you can, but in the meantime set it up for the quick escape out the backdoor.
Thank you David Stern you pathetic loser. Thanks for taking this once great game and turning it into a business. Thank you David Stern for taking our franchise from us. Thank you David Stern for giving us a predetermined play to watch for an extraordinarily large sum of money, only the find out the hero was never going to win and the evil empire continues to grow. In fact, tell you what.....
F-U DAVID STERN!!!!!!!!
To all of the Royalty fans out there, I can't say this is my best work. In fact I am sure there are some inaccuracies, for that I apologize. To hear Gavin Maloof say we should be positive about this, shows what kind of spineless owners they are. They should be pissed and should call for an investigation. For lack of a better term, we "earned" that #1 draft pick. Not necessarily the right to Blake Griffin, we earned the pick. The Kings got screwed, this City got screwed, and us the fans who suffered through 2008-2009 of god awful basketball got screwed. F-the positive crap.
I hope you share these emotions with me, but i understand if you don't. I look forward to reading Ziller's and Pookey's and Section's great research and options the Kings have for the next year. They are much more level-headed than I, so I will now bow to them.
Oh, and Mike Lamb (I know you are on here) you better get on the air, if not today, then tomorrow and I want you to blast the NBA and David Stern. Damn it, go crazy!!!!!!