Magic Johnson & Peter Guber – Tell To Win

I just started reading Peter Guber’s new book Tell To Win. Mr. Guber is not only a well known movie executive, but he’s also a majority owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

What is Tell To Win? It’s not just about dollars and cents, but its getting people to understand your passion and buying into your vision.

Here’s a conversation between Magic Johnson and Peter Guber where they discuss the power of Telling To Win!

Good Night Sports Fans,

Alana

 

The NBA Embraces The Digital Water Cooler

Remember the good old days when co-workers used to gather around the proverbial water cooler to discuss and debate the world of sports? You couldn’t wait until Monday morning to discuss the games that you watched over the weekend. Together you analyzed the best players in the league and bet on which teams would make it to finals.

Are fans still debating sports with their co-workers? Of course they are and that will never change. However, with the social media explosion you don’t have to wait days to express your views and opinions about sports – it is now done in an instant.

Lately, I’ve noticed that when it comes to social media the NBA is everywhere. Have you noticed it too? I thought that maybe it seemed that way to me because I follow the NBA slightly more than I do the NFL, MLB, and NHL – that’s not the case at all.

I listened to a recent interview with NBA Commissioner David Stern where he opened up about the NBA’s social media presence and the impact of the “24 hour open mic” on the league. ESPN Analyst, Bill Simmons, asked Commissioner Stern, “Has social media alone made your job more challenging than it has ever been?”

 I expected to hear Commissioner Stern describe the ills and problems associated with social media. Players tweeting when they should be focusing on their games. Fans and bloggers complaining about the league.  Instead, he responded that social media has made his job more interesting and its influence on the NBA has been overwhelming positive.

 Of course in typical Commissioner Stern fashion he used facts to back up his statement. He said, “If you went and did the numbers you will see that the NBA and its players on Facebook have like 52 million likes. And on Twitter the NBA and its players probably have 30 million followers. And if you go to YouTube we probably have 400 million views.”

 What does Commissioner Stern call this phenomenon? The Digital Water Cooler.

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What the next owner of the Detroit Pistons can learn from Bill Davidson

In 1974, William “Bill” Davidson, Mr. D. as he was affectionately known, entered the professional sports scene when he bought the Detroit Pistons. His $8 million investment eventually turned into a sports and entertainment empire. At its height the franchise was valued at $479 million. More recently, Forbes calculated its value at $360 million.

Mr. D died in 2009 and his passing felt like the death of a longtime friend or relative. While I never personally knew Mr. D, I get chocked up when I think about him and how much he meant to his players, Pistons fans, and professional sports. He was the face of the team and you can’t think about DEE-TROOIT BASKETBALL without thinking of him.

His widow, Karen Davidson, took over as the principle owner nearly two years ago and she wasn’t shy about her desire to sell the team. Davidson publicly stated that the team was her husband’s “baby” and it did not deserve an absentee owner.

Davidson hoped to sell the team by the start of the 2010-2011 NBA season, and as the all-star break approaches a deal still isn’t in place. There is hope that the Pistons will start the second-half of the season with a new owner. Recently, Tom Gores, a Michigan native and California financier, entered an exclusive 30-day negotiation period to purchase the team from Davidson. Last week it was announced that Davidson and Gores added an additional 14 days to the exclusivity period.

If the deal goes through, there’s no question that Gores will have big shoes to fill, and a long list of tasks ready for him the minute he is given the keys to “The Palace.”

His biggest challenges?

Gaining player trust. Winning over fans. Reviving the front office. Building a championship contender. Negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement.

I’m certain that Gores or the next owner of the Pistons will receive plenty advice regarding the best way to run the team; ultimately, the final decisions will be up to them.

What’s my advice? It is simply to “remember Mr. D.”

Here is what I think the next owner of the Detroit Pistons can learn from Bill Davidson.

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The Shimmy is back…In the D-League

 

Dime Magazine is reporting that Antoine Walker is set to return to pro basketball and sign with the D-League’s Idaho Stampede. Walker is known for leading the 1996 Kentucky Wildcats to a DI NCAA title and spending a majority of his career in Boston playing alongside Paul Pierce. Walker eventually won an NBA title with Miami, but it’s safe to say that moment was probably the last positive highlight of his career.

Recently, Walker legal troubles have been leading the headlines — not his game. He admits to a string a bad real estate business decisions, as well as gambling debt. In May 2010, it all came to a head when he filed for bankruptcy after making more than $110 million in 13 NBA seasons…ouch! I can’t fathom having that much and blowing it all. I won’t get on my soap box about guys in the league mismanaging their money. However, I will say that I hope Walker can make a come back and turn his troubles around…plus I want to see the shimmy one more time.

Good night sports fans,

Alana

Things that make you go hmmmm…

I woke up this morning to find tweeter nation up in arms over LeBron James “bumping” his shoulder into Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. The Heat have not been winning lately and there has been a lot speculation around Spoelstra’s tenure in Miami. Will he be replaced by Pat Riley? Are the Big 3 unhappy with the direction that the team is going in?  

Needless to say Spoelstra is facing a tremendous amount of pressure. His boss is a legendary NBA coach and general manager. He is coaching three of the best players in the NBA. And he’s coaching against a guy that has won 11 NBA Championships who just happened to criticize him last week. Can you imagine going to work each and every day hearing people boo, cuss, and tell you how bad you’re at doing your job? I can’t and I really don’t think it’s fair.

I can’t believe that fans really think that by just putting Bosh, Wade, and James together they would automatically win. First, the other players in the league aren’t going to roll over for Miami. They have marked the game against Miami on their schedules and their fans have too. This a game where everyone will come out to play. Second, didn’t we learn anything from the 2004 Olympics? That team had the best players that the NBA had to offer – LeBron, Melo, AI, and Duncan. And we saw from that experience that player’s need time to gel and come together as a team. I think it’s a little early to blame everything on Spoelstra. But I will say that the clock is ticking.

Either way, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen contact between LeBron and his coach. He bumped shoulders with former Cavs coach, Mike Brown, and well we all know how that turned out. Things that make you go hmmmm….

Good night sports fans,

Alana

LeBron James “Rises” to his critics

Today Nike released its new LeBron James commercial just in time for the NBA 2010-2011 season. It’s called “Rise” and some are calling it Nike’s best commercial ever. I don’t know if I’ll go that far – Nike had some pretty good Bo Knows and MJ commercials back in the day. However, I will say that it’s very good and it makes a HUGE statement.

 The commercial starts off in a setting recreating his infamous press conference, and he’s even wearing the same exact purple checkered shirt. LeBron addresses critics that we all know included the media, former NBA players, Cleveland fans, and Charles “I am not a role model” Barkley.  He reminds us that he won several high school championships, ponders the “Chosen One” label, and asks if he should really believe that his decision to play in Miami ruined his legacy.  He tackles issues of money, championships, and being labeled a villain through this whole ordeal. In the end he asks, “What should I do? Should I be who you want me to be?”

Wow, all that in just 1:32 minutes…

 Good Night Sports Fans,

Alana  

Shaq goes to Harvard?

Shaq goes to Harvard? Well not exactly. This week NBA journeyman, Shaq O’Neal, went to the famed Harvard Square and posed as a statute. He “posed” for pictures with fans and created buzz in typical Shaq fashion. It looks like Celtics fans are warming up to the former LA Laker.

Beyond the court – 10 minutes with Rick Mahorn

If you had ten minutes with any pro athlete, what would you ask them?

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing former “Bad Boy” Rick Mahorn. Rick Mahorn needs no introduction, but for those of you that don’t know he is a retired NBA player. And most notably was a member of the 1988-89 NBA Champions Detroit Pistons that swept the LA Lakers 4-0. Remember those brooms? Didn’t it seem like yesterday that the entire City of Detroit was gathered in Hart Plaza all at once to celebrate the championship?

Rick is affectionately known as the “Baddest Bad Boy of them all.” But he really has a heart of gold and is a true professional. Since retiring from the NBA he has coached in the CBA and the WNBA, where he won a championship with the Detroit Shock and his former Bad Boy teammate, Bill Laimbeer.

Sports Fans, I bring you the Motor City’s own…Rick Mahorn!

Alana: What is the best thing about being involved in pro sports?

Rick Mahorn: The best thing about being in pro sports is the competition. Being competitive. Competing with the best in the world. That shows that you accomplished something in your sport and your craft.

 Alana: What was your favorite or best experience as an athlete or coach?

Rick Mahorn: My best experience was winning a championship in the NBA [and] my friendships through my careers.

Alana: And your worst experience?   

Rick Mahorn: I never had a worst experience. Worst experience was probably losing, I don’t like losing. And being a competitor you always want to give it your best shot and not lose.

Alana: Any particular game or time you can remember losing when it hit you below the belt?

Rick Mahorn: No, I left it on the court every time I played. Whether it was a thousand plus games and every time I played and every minute I played hard. Knowing that I put my 110% on the court – so I really never had a worst time.

Alana: Trends – where do you see the sport going? What direction do you see pro ball going in?

Rick Mahorn: Hopefully the direction that it goes in is to keep it simple. Don’t try to glamorize it and treat it as if it’s entertainment – which it is. But keep it to the competition and the competitive part that sports are all about.

Alana: Are there any trends that you don’t like?

Rick Mahorn: The trends that I don’t like are the lack of professionalism. I think everybody should treat the game with respect. Dressing up, being professional in a professional atmosphere, and just always keeping it professional.

Alana: Who did you idolize growing up?

Rick Mahorn: My mother. A woman that did so many things for kids to be successful. A lady who was on welfare raising kids from the ‘hood and trying to be successful in life and raising great human beings.

Alana: Do you think athletes are role models?

Rick Mahorn: We are all role models. Kids idolize athletes, but it’s your parents, it’s your home, it’s your guardian. Everybody can’t be Michael Jordan – if that’s your hero as far as sports. But your hero should be your father, your mother, or your guardian. Your hero should be the person providing for you so you can progress.

Alana: What do you think makes a good owner of a team?

Rick Mahorn: Someone that is passionate, but yet will sit back and let his team evolve. And he shows the leadership and direction of the team and let it go from there.

Alana: What kind of relationship did you have with Mr. Davidson?*

Rick Mahorn: It was a great relationship because Mr. Davidson was always caring and concerned about his players. Making sure that [he] was talking about their families and not necessarily talking about basketball.

*Note: Bill Davidson became the majority owner of the Detroit Pistons 1974 for $6 million and owned the team, which is currently valued at over $430 million, until his passing in 2009. Bill Davidson was one-of-a-kind and is missed by fans and players alike.

Alana: What pro team do you think was the greatest of all time? If you had to pick one?

Rick Mahorn: There are some many teams that started this league. You’ve got the Lakers, Boston, Chicago, and the original teams that started this league.  I think they are all great and classy.

Alana: Who are your top five former or current players in the NBA? If you had to pick a starting five who would you pick?

Rick Mahorn: Kareem Abdul Jabbar as one. My second would be Bill Russell. My third would be – small forward – Dr. J. No I take that back – Larry Bird. My big guard would probably be Michael Jordan. And my point guard would probably be Maurice Cheeks.

Alana: And if you could play a sport other than basketball, what would it be?

Rick Mahorn: Football. That was the first sport I played and I was better in football then I was a basketball. I played four years and one year of basketball.  

 Alana: Thanks Rick for your time.

Rick Mahorn: You’re welcome…anytime.

Good Night Sports Fans,

Alana

I’m ready for my close up – Media Day around the NBA

Today was media day around the NBA, which signals the start of NBA season. It seems like yesterday Ron Artest was thanking his hood and psychiatrist for helping him win an NBA championship with the Lakers.

Now that the summer is over, it’s back to work for the lucky 400+ athletes that get to call themselves professional basketball players.

Kobe and company were all smiles in El Segundo, CA as they proudly displayed their back-to-back championship trophies. He said  that it will “take execution, comradery and focusing on the right things… to get back to the mountain again.” Sure it was an ugly game seven but he said, “the motivation to win another championship is there.”

And on the other coast is Kobe’s motivation – Shaq. Yup, NBA journeyman Shaquille O’neal is now playing for the Boston Celtics. It’s his sixth team in the nineteen seasons that he’s been in the league. Will the Big Shamrock will help the Celtics get back to an inside outside game? Coach Rivers said it is a necessary component to win more regular season games. It’s Shaq’s last two seasons in the league, and he said “it’s all about the team and all about the City of Boston.” Let’s see if he can help bring them banner number 18.

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