April 24, 2014

What kinds of fans is the NBA catering to now?

I want to root for the Cavaliers and the Cavaliers only. I’ve stated that a lot of times over the past year. I don’t want to watch superstar matchups on TNT and crack about Craig Sager and the boys back in the studio unless the Cavaliers are playing. This season that meant that I didn’t watch a TNT broadcast all year long.1 More and more though, I think those TNT fans are the target market of the NBA. And now, I have proof, albeit anecdotal.

I was walking around Aurora Farms the other day and I ran into a pack of dudes who were probably high school seniors. Certainly old enough to drive themselves to the conglomeration of stores. They were white kids, walking around talking about the NBA all wearing jerseys.2 One had Kevin Durant. One had Derrick Rose. One had the Houston Rockets iteration of Tracy McGrady and one had Raptors Vince Carter.3 They were quizzing each other on facts about their respective guys as I happened to run into them in both the Nike and Under Armour stores.

“Hey. Do you know what number Durant wears for the Olympics?”4 They were really having a lot of fun talking about the NBA while wearing their jerseys in a clear Cavaliers market with nary a Cavalier represented among them.

I was surprised that nobody liked the owners in the NBA lockout. I didn’t expect anyone to feel sorry for the owners because they’re a bunch of rich guys. But as it moved along, I expected more people to come around to the owners’ side. In the end, owners goals were more aligned with the goals of fans. Or at least I thought so at the time. Fans and owners should both want teams to control the movement of talent in order to accomplish team goals in winning. As a Cavaliers fan, first and foremost, I want to see that team get as talented as possible so they can make runs at NBA titles. I honestly don’t care much about the desired locales in which certain superstars decide they want to play. Maybe that team-oriented fan is increasingly becoming a minority in the NBA, though.

Could it be that this type of fan with all the jerseys dominates the whole landscape? Is the “me first” attitude of NBA players now leaking into the fan base so much that fans don’t care about teams and team goals either? Is the NBA becoming the first real live fantasy league? Have they taken the fantasy sports aesthetic and brought it to an entire sport so that fans can be team agnostic?

That’s a lot of questions with not a lot of answers.

Obviously it isn’t an all or nothing proposition. There will always be some team-first fans, some fans of individual superstars and a third kind of fan that is a hybrid following both a team and a few select superstars. What I’m interested in is what the split looks like in the pie chart. What percentage of the NBA fans are fans of “the league” as opposed to a team first? I think that number is probably growing and I know for a fact that it doesn’t include me.

The league hasn’t really endeared itself to the team-first fans over the last few years as teams have seem to lost any semblance of leverage in player movement despite paying exorbitant contracts. Obviously this new CBA hasn’t had much of a chance to play out, yet either. Maybe it is isolated to this one instance, but since LeBron James left Cleveland my perception has become I’m not the target market for the NBA. As players move around, team up and create situations for themselves, they’re going to continue to promote the type of fan that is elated to wear a Kevin Durant jersey in the heart of Cleveland Cavaliers country.

You can have that version of the NBA, but it isn’t for me. This is stated without judgment or prejudice either. There is no reason to think it is a bad thing for a Cleveland-area kid to love a guy like Kevin Durant or Derrick Rose. They’re both great players and seemingly pretty good guys overall.

It just isn’t my choice. I won’t choose to raise my sons that way either. Maybe that means they won’t be NBA fans at all. Who knows?

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. OK. I watched one game when my family and I were driving to Orlando for vacation and it was on in the hotel bar somewhere in Georgia while I was unwinding with a beer. But I didn’t control the TV and I couldn’t hear the sound, so I don’t think it counts, really. []
  2. They had neither sleeves nor the proverbial “guns” to justify going sleeveless, but that’s irrelevant to the story. []
  3. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the McGrady and Carter duo were cousins just like McGrady and Vince Carter are? []
  4. The answer is 5, BTW. []

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I agree Craig, and even though it doesn’t really annoy you that more and more kids are proving to be more player-oriented and less team-oriented, it bugs me.  To me its a sign of moving away from “loyalty” as a value.  People in the midwest have always had a lot of pride about where they are from, and it’s that pride that bleeds into cheering for Cleveland sports teams.  As a boy, I would have never thrown trash on the ground of my hometown.  You don’t (take a dump) where you live; you make it into a place worth boasting about.  You’re always going to have those bandwagon people who jump on board with the hot team and buy their merch, but this is different.  Young fans in general definitely identify with the player more than the team now, and it’s a shame… where is the northeast Ohio pride?

  • Yup

    Two words: Fantasy Sports

  • bumsquare

    I don’t think this is anything new at all. If anything it worse in the 90s, when Jordan, Shaq, et al. were the stars. It even happened in baseball, with McGwire and Sosa. Kids have always been front-runners.  Didn’t everybody have that one annoying kid in their neighborhood who cheered for Jordan against the “marshmallow” Cavs?

  • Kevin

    I’m not sure, if you look at the top selling jersey’s, not matter where the player plays, he’ll be on top. When LeBron was in Cleveland, he was among the top seller (and I don’t think it had a lot to do with the Cleveland market) and he’s still is (and I don’t think it has a lot to do with being in Miami either).

     I think the NBA has always been like that and I’m not sure it’s that much different today. the perception might be different because we finally had a superstar here (unless you want to call mark Price a superstar…) and him leaving changed the way we see the NBA as a more player than team oriented sport.

    I believe “real” fans support a team, and then there are occasional fans who might be attracted to the game because of X marquee player. if you look at the affluence in arenas over the last 10 or 20 years and correlate it to the movement of star players, you’ll see that hardcore fans will stay and those occasional fans finish to fill up the venue!

  • porckchopexpress

    As a kid I loved the Cavs rooted for them as hard as for the Browns and was crushed by every defeat.  As a kid I also owned a Magc Johnson jersey, could tell you every player on the Showtme Lakers teams and rooted for them in all things not Cavalier.  As I got older and Nick Van Exel and Elden Campbell replaced Magic and Kareem I had to admit my frontrunnerness and move on, although  will always always have a soft spot for Nick.
    My point is that the NBA has always existed as a young man’s game, and an old man’s sport.  The young man throws his hands up in disgust/disbelief when Tim Duncan positions himself perfectly and uses foot work and body control to tip rebounds to himself and away from a freakishly athletic Ibaka.  The young man is dazzled by the virtuoso brillance of a Westbrook and never notices that if the player took 3 less of his pull up contested 15 footers his team might have held on.  The point is the NBA – more then any other sport – allows you to see what you want to see.  If you are going to not watch the game solely because young people like watching young exciting players and don’t appreciate the nuances of solid help defense, then I feel you are making a shortsighted decision.
     
    However, if you don’t watch the Spurs/Zombie series because you only root for the Cavs, and the next 6 games play out like the first you will have done yourself a disservice. 

  • dwhit110

    It was evident last season was LBJ was getting booed everywhere he went, but he ended up selling more jerseys than any other NBA player that year. Sure a large part of that was he changed teams, but with how reviled he seemed in our bubble, it was interesting to see that he had enough support that people were willing to go out and buy his jersey, more so than any other.

  • Dee P

    It’s my take that everything this article mentions can be traced back to 1992 and the first “dream team”. That’s 20 years ago…right when the current NBA stars were just learning about the NBA…for many of them, it was their first exposure to it. Now they are all trying to live those childhood memories during the regular season. It is also during the Olympics that LeBron, Wade, and Bosh formed their plan to align their contracts together to do what they did as well.

  • mgbode

    I agree.  In the 80s, I loved Kirk Gibson, Rickey Henderson(player, not person), Orel Hershiser, etc.

    in bball, when the Cavs got eliminated, I still cheered for Bird and I loved Parrish (good ole double-0).

    and, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.  my favorite players were still the Cleveland ones, but I developed an affinity for an assortment of players across the leagues. 

    in basketball, the NBA realized this opportunity and started marketing the player as much as the team going back to at least Magic vs. Bird.  When Jordan dominated the NBA, it just solidified the method.

  • mgbode

    “However, if you don’t watch the Spurs/Zombie series because you only root for the Cavs, and the next 6 games play out like the first you will have done yourself a disservice.”

    #repeated_for_truth

  • BenRM

    I think this movement away from “local” and “team” and towards the “superstar” is due in great part to the way media has operated in the last 30 years-or-so. National news and sports networks. The slow death of the local newspaper. Kids are raised on national highlights. And the “team”, especially one in a down market, receives less focus.

    Combine the above with the fact that basketball is maybe the only team sport where a single player can have a franchise-altering effect, and you have the modern NBA fan.

  • Harv 21

    I don’t see much of a shift in the national marketing strategy. Stern brought the league back from widespread apathy by relentlessly focusing the marketing on stars, first Magic and Bird, then Jordan. Basketball is not in the American blood like football, and it’s harder to market a team when a team identity is usually harder to define and sell, unless it’s obvious. “The Bad Boys of Detroit will try to put the hammer on Michael!” was easy because the Pistons went for that image themselves. But something like “Thursday! Spurs v, Thunder, unselfish and well-coached! basketball at its finest” is a hard sell. As far as the league marketing, it’s been about individual stars since the late 70s. Before that, no one was paying much attention, no matter how great Dr. J and others were. 

  • Steve

    I think the style of high schoolers is not a great measure of the general direction the fanbase is headed. A large part of why people wear jerseys of out of town stars is just that’s what is in style. If baseball or football jerseys were in style like that, you’d see them frequently as well. And the focus on superstars is more about how the game is played than anything else. A guy like Lebron can dominate a game in ways that baseball and football players just don’t get the opportunity to.

    And I think a large part of your belief that the owners side closer to the fans is that you’re a fan of a team that got screwed over by a player. Viewpoints are much different in say, Miami, where the players have the same interest as the fans, and the owner is a scumbag.

  • saggy

    really?  a hashtag?

  • Holly Wellman

     a player wants money,championships,and playing time. with an owner thats great like dan gilbert that will pay top dollar,an organzation from top all the way through ready to do what ever it takes,and a coach in coach scott who knows how important your players are all the way through the roster for a deep and great young and hungry team with the deepest and best rotation in the nba.we were on the way of building that and making a push for the playoffs just this past year ,with a very deep team.  then we had alot of injuries and fell out and forced to trade pg rammon sessions,breaking up the youngest and the best pg combination,one two punch in the nba. when that was rolling we had an exciting team all the way through from 10 to 12 deep ,playing great. also a team can play two pg’s the same time and even start them ,depending on the players and the roster which lineups play best together,examples 1- what the clippers tryed to do with pg chris paul and pg billups or could do what the cavs did example 2- pg’s/ irving and sessions split squads they meshed best together and split the game down to have everyone well rested,running,and out playing the other teams. also other examples of other positions would be as such-a position player with a strength with a weakness and/-playing with a player who has a  weakness but a position of strength would mesh together and help each other out as a team being great. examples- thompson and varejeo are high energy guys,rebound well,hustle,relentless,hard working underneath great motors and strength pounding the glass but weakness is high scoring. if you added other biggs”- with those two-” who the other two have high scoring with a strong strength who could rebound some but not his or there’s biggest strength but can try and does decent but add a thompson or varejae with them they mesh and a strong team unit.(old example big z scoring at center with big ben rebounding and defence and motor meshed well together) the next couple years we have draft choices and chances to have more draft choices. you also have cap space but need to spend smart and on young and talented players who could mesh and make us a great team.   many diffrent options,also addition by subtraction,along with team greatness included but could help cavs draft standings with chances of the lakers and kings pick(anything is possible and can happen).also remember some players i list were playing out of there true natural position with there old team and the most glaring one would be scoring guard 6’6” 220 pound 22 year old sg tyreke evans from kings playing sf or pg everywhere but along side a great point guard who could feed him the ball and set him up or let him take over. also young 24 year old 7 foot 265 pound center in just coming off his third season in which he didn’t play many games do to a freak injury which hurt his numbers and who can score great and has great days rebounding and days were he can improve but young players with expeirence and coaching can and will improve in young center brook lopez who the nets won’t sign him to a big contract because the want to try to sign deron williams and dwight howard,there loss is our gain because he is younger then howard and center brook lopez playing along side pf varejae or thompson would mesh and make each other better and would out duel howard who would be older and out numbered underneath.  also pg ramon sessions could be signed back,because lackers won’t break the bank for him and we know how the young 26 year old 6’3” 190 pound guard pg/or even sg can do for us. also an option like a billubs but younger for us would be pg playing sg 27 year old 6’3” 209 pound all-star deron williams. other option is a young shooting guard who never got the proper chance to develope or oppurtunity to flourish and never had a chance to play along side great pg play like i’m suggesting in irving,sessions and or williams in young and talented who will prove himself at 24 years old 6’4” 210 pound o.j. mayo starting or coming off the bench playing alot of minutes would mesh great with our young core. also a player who could be signed to take a flyer on to see if he could come back healthy and sign a -player and team friendly- contract so he can prove that he is the player everyone touted him to be coming out of college at 24 years of age seven foot 285 pound former number one pick center greg oden. he has leg issues but is young and can still over come the problems and can come back healthy and show everyone he is one of the best young big men in the game today. he can get healthy ,improve,and mesh with a high energy guy like thompson or varegeo. we took a chance with an older player with leg problems with a contract simmialr or close even with former boston celtic forward leon powe(if it works out steal of a life time,worth a chance). some players could be out signed or trade for,along with everything starting wednesday after 8:00 p.m. when the cleveland cavs win the 2012 nba lottery and take sf/pf anthony davis who is skilled enough scoring,blocking shots,defence,shooting,running,and is fast and very quick with feet and arms and hands and angles to play sf like larry nance did with hot-rod but is way more athletic and can jump even higher then nance could,handle the ball better and has a great touch on his shots and very skilled passer who is only 18 years of sge who still can get stronger and better every day,and is also great around the basket as well in which gives cavs a big advantage with a big lineup meshing great together.   now after that there is no way to ever know if you will have another chance to draft that high again to draft your third guy to develope with irving and davis to make your own young big three but with a bench and depth on our team meshing great together.  so you could package picks i mean as many as it takes and if needed future number one’s of coarse for a move up and get pf thomas robinson,sg bradely beal,sg austin rivers. thats where teams can go wrong,there stuck being good but not great and can’t get high enough in the draft to add a super star and no team wants to trade with you to make you better because they want your player or players-so you need to make your move when you have a window,remember if not for injuries we were making a playoff push and would of held on to pg sessions and wouldnd’t of had this chance to draft this high. next year we will be even better and be a play off team,so this draft is most important and you can build it right this year and beyond but this draft is very important not just for our number one pick over all in sf anthony davis but adding to our team with more talent this year when we have a chance. we are not selling to players we are building. no! we are selling and showing players we are done building and are the next young big three,the next young thunder squad but combined meshing together all the way through as a team,we are better and are going to win multi championships now and for years to come!!!!!!!

  • Steve

     Punctutation is not just your friend, but everyone else’s too.

  • porckchopexpress

    When did # become a “hashtag”?  I’ve spent too many years on hold jamming my finger on the “pound sign” trying to get an operator for you whippersnappers to change its name now.
      Point being for 100 years “#” meant pound or number, and all of a sudden in whatever way twitter has adopted the # sign, its name and meaning changed on the fly. Since you are part of a group that just stole and changed the meaning of the symbol you probably shouldn’t be getting too persnickty about how, when and why people use it.

  • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

    liked x10 but the zombie thing is a nit.

    seattle is home to microsoft, starbucks, amazon, boeing.  their median income 82,000; cleveland’s 63,000. seattle housing values are a good 3x to 5x greater than cleveland’s.

    i find it hard to muster a lot of sympathy for sonics fans.  add to that, the thunder fans have been quite awesome and surely worthy of their franchise.

  • Harv 21

    Interesting. Could you expound on that?

  • mgbode

    I don’t care as I thought it was funny that a SW coding style comment would make it’s way into the “real world”

  • porckchopexpress

    This probably a place not to go but the subject warrants it.

    Craig,
    When you go to a baseball game do you think; “Boy! Major League Baseball isn’t supporting team first fans by allowing players to skip town for huge money in big markets.”
    When you watch a football game do you say; “Wow the NFL doesn’t support team first fans because they force the team to cut veterans that we have grown attached to.”  (this more of a problem in places like Pittsburgh then here)
    When you see Cleveland fill up with BoSox or Steeler jerseys when those teams are in town do you blame the NFL and MLB for fostering an environment where people root for good players on good teams?
    You don’t like the “star” system in basketball but have you ever found yourself pining for an “elite” QB for the Browns?

    I think the NBA suffers from a lot of unfair perceptions, things that people seem to give a pass to the NFL for they turn around and crush the NBA for.  There is a perception that NBA players who leave their team are greedy and selfish, there is a perception that when an NFL player holds out for more money he has to because his career is so short.  As noted above their is a perception that the NBA is a Stars league and not truly a team game, there is a perception that the NFL is the “ultimate team game” and this perception overlooks the constant clamoring of teams to find star players at “skill” positions.
    Finally there is the perception, which has been around for almost 100 years, that the NBA is a “black” league, and by some degree this means that the NFL is the “not black league” or at least the “less black league”.  Now in some way I’m saying that all of the other perceptions that white people have about the NBA are rooted in this perception.  To me its the only way to explain why we look at one league and find blame and look at the other league and make excuse.
    Its not fun to talk about and most people get real defensive, but if you don’t at least acknowledge its prescence you can’t really have an honest discussion about the subject.

  • mgbode

    i think the race issue is minor at best.   i think the perception is square-on before that and it is derived from 2 basic premises:

    1. basketball is a star league.   it can, like no other sport, hinge on 1 or 2 players.   an elite QB still needs blocking and catching, an elite ace SP still needs hitting and defense.   an elite Bball player can nearly do everything himself at least for awhile (LeBron game5 vs Detroit, 2009 Orlando series, etc.)

    2. Marketing.  The “names” get marketed more than the jerseys in the NBA.  It is an intentional method.  While the NFL and MLB have done this more now, it is still much less than how the NBA does it.

  • mgbode

    best example of elite player doing everything.  Reggie Miller’s last 33seconds against the Knicks (13pts).

    skip to 1:21

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSWE_Wbu80o

     

  • porckchopexpress

    If their median income is 1.3 times higher than ours but their houses cost 3-5 X’s as much then they are in a pretty bad spot comparitively.  If I’m an employer which of my offers would you take; 63k a year and a housing market full of great homes at 200k, or, I’ll give you a 19k a year raise but you have to move somewhere that an equivalent home costs 500k? 

    As for the Zombie thing I know its a Simmons rip off, but the way that team was stolen from the city makes Model leaving look positively noble.  I agree that the OKC fans have been great but people still need to remember that Clay Bennett is a slimy piece of dirt, who stole a team.   

  • mgbode

    not exactly.  you have to adjust the finances for all the necessities (food, energy, etc.) and just look at the remaining to determine the housing budget possibilities.    3X housing prices probably is too extreme (and not sure it’s accurate here).    in your example above, adjusting for ~25% in total taxes taken, that still leaves $1200 per month extra.

    simplified mortgage formula:   mortgage = Price/1000*8.   inverted to get extra mortgage w/ $1200 extra:

    Price = $1200*1000/8 = $150000

    that means the extra $1200 per month could garner you a $350K house living at the same level you had for a $200K house.   not to mention, as housing prices rise, they tend to do so by %’s, so that gap will potentially widen over time.

    then, when you retire, financially it makes sense to move back into the cheaper area and bank the difference.

    3X housing prices are definitely extreme though.

  • porckchopexpress

    I believe that this actually solidifys my agurment that perception is different between the two sports.

    In a football game when say, Josh Cribbs houses a few returns and sets up field goals with great field position – effectively scoring or assisting on all the Browns points – nobody says “Josh did it alone” they point to the team work, the blocking all of the other things that went into the plays.
    When Reggie makes that steal nobody points to great full court pickup by the Pacers or the AMAZING prescence of mind that one Mr. Byron Scott had to see that Mason is in trouble and suddenly jump to defend the inbound causing Mason to make a turrrible decision and loft a pass into empty space.  Reggie didn’t do it alone, but in basketball the perception is that elite players do it alone.

  • porckchopexpress

    I agree that basketball gets marketed more by its stars but there is no other sport where the players are so close and so unmasked. Its intentional to put teams with star power on Nationally televised games but its not like Monday night fooball features the Jags versus Browns every week.
    As to your point about a sport hinging on one or two players, I don’t see how you could argue the same is not true in football.  If you replace Alex Smith/Joe Flacco with Brees/Brady etc. you almost certainly have a championship team.  If you even gave SF one decent WR last year they might have won it all.  
    I should remind you that both Lebron moments you mentioned are single game anomolies that didn’t lead to championships.  The Pistons game got the Cavs to the Finals where the better team swept the “amazing” player.  Despite Lebron’s last second shot in Orlando the Cavs lost the series.  Reggie Miller’s incredible 8 points came in the second round and they lost in the conference finals.  Jordan’s 63 against the Celts is always brought up but the fact that they lost the game and series never is.  Jordan’s indvidual brilliance always outshines the fact that he never won it all until he had a team that complimented his skill set.  Look at last year’s finals;  Was Dirk individually amazing?  Would they have won a title if everyone hadn’t bought into Tyson Chandlers defensive minded attitude?
    Was Dirk more important to his teams win than Eli Manning was to the Giants Super Bowl?  Could you have just plugged Colt in and gotten the same results?Its all in how you percieve the sports, and again I say people perceive the NBA differently because we have for 3 generations acceptted a particular stereotype – that while antiquated – continues to manifest itself in our conversations about basketball.

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    The British call # the hash symbol, because calling it the pound symbol would be confusing, since they view £ as the pound symbol.

  • porckchopexpress

    Thanks!  I actually did the wiki thing to figure that out last night because I was curious.  I was just pointing out that we as a country have just recently adopted the term “hashtag” as well as its usage for whatever it means on twitters (didn’t wiki that :) so calling somebody on its usage when that usage is still very in flux seems odd to me. Then again I’m also the kind of guy who masks his emoticons in paranthetical statements, so take it with a grain.

  • mgbode

    what Reggie did there would be akin to:

    Cribbs scoring the return TD
    kicking the Xtra Pt
    running down on kick-coverage, forcing a fumble and scoring another TD on that recovery
    kicking another Xtra Pt
    then making the final tackle on kick-coverage

  • porckchopexpress

    This is another one of those things I’m only “wiki smart” about.  I’m not going to pretend to understand your mortage math but  I get where you are going.  I still believe if you are making 80k buying 300k house is still maxing your debt limit, in the hopes that those prices stay stable or rise over your 30 commitment.

  • mgbode

    you don’t take your 1 or 2 player system far enough though.

    if you put LeBron on the Bobcats, then they would become a playoff team (and they were a historically bad team).   if you put Verlander on the Twins, they’d win maybe 10 more games?    Brady/Brees on last year’s Colts/Rams and maybe 4-5 more wins?

    yes, basketball needs to have the team,  but the team starts with the player more than other sports.   that’s why I am cheering for SA this year.  they are team-first, not player-first.  but, it is not like that on most teams including contenders.

    note: I know what I am opening up myself to by including the Colts above. But, that team has been falling apart with terrible drafting for years and the veteran injuries (not just Peyton) caught up with them last year tenfold.

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    If you’re referring to me, I’m not trying to call anybody on anything, merely commenting on differences in what is, ostensibly, the same language.  (If you’re not referring to me, then disregard previous paragraph)

    I’m with you about the fluidity of language, it seems the internet has almost made a competition out of evolving new words/phrases or changing the meanings of existing ones.

  • Holly Wellman

    lol..yes but no thanks,   just if we had young big three in pg irving sg rivers or sf kidd-gillchrist, pf/sf/c anthony davis with a young deep core with pg sessions,sg/pg deron williams or sg tyreke evans,sg/sf o.j. mayo c brook lopez c greg oden c/pf varejae,pf/c thompson,pf/c samuels,sg gibson,sf alonzo gee…………..then we could take it to the older bigger market miami and destroy them

  • porckchopexpress

    It is true that Lebron by himself could lift that Bobcats team to a playoff birth.  However 60% of the teams in the NBA make the playoffs as opposed to 30% in the NFL.  I would say that Lebron turning the worst team in basketball into th 7th/8th seed and getting washed out in the first round is about equivalent to Brady/Brees taking a 2 win St Louis team to 7-9.
    The way I would characterize it, and I hope I can say this in some intelligble manner is that I agree that individuals are more important to basketball then football. When you get to the final four teams in the Conference Finals and then on into the Finals, each team has at least 2 really good/great players which cancel each other out.  What separates champions in basketball is the same as in football, how well the stars perform as part of a team, how do the greats raise the level of their average teammates, and how well was the team constructed to put pieces that complement the greats talent. 
    That is why I think it is more than semantics when Dan Gilbert repeats the phrase “We are building with, and not around, a star player.” 

  • mgbode

    well, why didn’t you say that at the front :)

    I agree.

  • porckchopexpress

    I’ve got a government issue computer.  If I don’t use my alloted words up each month I’ll get less next month, so sometimes its necessary to inflate my budget, budget, budget, budget, budget

  • Harv 21

    thank you pork and mgbode, hadn’t seen your discussion before and really enjoyed reading good stuff from two of my favorite commenters here.

  • Harv 21

    also, agree with one of pork’s earlier comments re race and the nba. I’m not sure if objectively it’s a major or minor factor in the league’s popularity, but anecdotally I hear it all the time and it makes me wonder. Sometimes it’s an oblique reference as a “cultural issue” and sometimes it’s flat-out explicit. The skin exposure, lack of helmets and the foul-line close ups just reduce team-first anonymity to those who care about racial differences, and I wonder if that gives the league less margin of error.

    Just a subjective observation, and I’m sure others disagree.