Boys Behaving Badly

What’s up with all of the boys behaving badly lately? Yes, I called them boys. Real men do not act like this.

In the last week we’ve seen NY Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez tear a ligament in his pitching hand after getting into an altercation with his girlfriend’s father. Indiana Pacers 2010 draft pick, Lance Stephenson, was arrested for assault after pushing is girlfriend down a flight of stairs. And finally Miami Heat forward, Udonis Haslem, was arrested for possession of marijuana following a traffic stop.

I’m not sure which one of these incidents is worse.

The passenger in Haslem’s vehicle has stated the marijuana was his. It was found in the passenger’s luggage and it’s possible that Haslem will be cleared. Even if he is cleared, what part of “I am a professional athlete and I have a lot to lose so don’t do anything stupid around me” does Haslem not understand. I’m sorry, I just don’t get it.

The Stephenson situation is very sad. He is 19 years old and clearly is young and immature. Domestic violence is serious and it is something that I personally don’t take lightly. Larry Bird, Pacers President, issued a statement saying the arrest is “very disappointing to the Pacers franchise and to me personally.” Yup it’s disappointing alright and I am sure there are a few other choice words that Larry Bird would like to say too. If it were me I would. Then again I’m a lady and I don’t talk like that.

K-Rod’s actions have probably ended his season. The Mets suspended him for two games, which amounted to a penalty around $125K. Later, he revealed his injury to the organization and it turns out that he has torn a ligament in his pitching hand. Seriously? Yes, Mets organization your closer has a possible season ending injury that occurred off the field. Oh yeah, he has been charged with third-degree assault, second-degree harassment and the entire incident occurred at Citi Field. The Mets organization has said that they are disappointed, discouraged, and frustrated by the situation. I have to hand it to them, they have been very calm when it comes to addressing the media. Continue reading “Boys Behaving Badly”

A Return to Detroit

It’s official. After months of speculation, Mike Ilitch, current owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers, has stated that he wants to buy the Detroit Pistons. Aside from me being the owner. I couldn’t be happier that Ilitch is going to make a bid. While it is known that Davidson and Ilitch families didn’t exactly get along over the years, I think that I can speak for the rest of the Detroit fans that today we’re all breathing a sigh of relief.

Mike Ilitch and his wife, Marian, began building their business empire, if you will, in 1959 with a small mom and pop pizza store front called “Little Caesars Pizza.” After franchising and expanding the business has grown into a billion dollar industry. In 2007, it was reported that Ilitch holdings $1.8 billion. Not only do the holdings including Little Caesars, but it also includes the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers.

Ilitch purchased the Wings in 1982 and turned the “Dead Wings” into Hockey Town by winning for Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008). Ten years later, in 1992, Ilitch bought the Detroit Tigers from Domino’s Pizza competitor, Tom Monaghan. In 2000, the team moved from the historic Tigers Stadium to Comerica Park. The team struggled with losing records for many years and it wasn’t until 2006 under the leadership of Manager, Jim Leyland, and General Manager, Dave Dombrowski, that the Tigers finally made it to the playoffs.

 For years Ilitch has denied any interest in basketball and has firmly restated his commitment to the City of Detroit. Today’s announcement has changed everything.

In Ilitch’s statement (see the following link for the full announcement http://www.freep.com/article/20100809/SPORTS03/100809026/Read-the-full-statement-from-Ilitch-on-the-Pistons) he said “Marian and I grew up here, we raised our family here and we built our businesses here. Detroit is our home. When I read in the paper there was the chance that this great sports town could lose one of its professional sports franchises, I just didn’t see how we could let that happen.” He went on to say, “The Pistons are just like the Red Wings, Tigers and the Lions, have a rich and storied tradition in this community and they’ve brought pride to fans and our community.” Continue reading “A Return to Detroit”

Isiah Thomas – Back in a New York Minute

Things that make you go hmmm…

That was my reaction today when I heard Isiah Thomas, current Florida International University men’s basketball coach and former New York Knicks GM and head coach, is returning to the New York Knicks as a consultant. While I don’t know the relationship between Isiah Thomas and the Knicks ownership this is either an extremely questionable move or a very calculated move.

 First, let me say that Isiah was a great point guard. He led my beloved Detroit Pistons to two NBA Championships (’88-’89 & ’89-’90). He was a pit bull on the court and would flash his 1,000 watt smile off the court. He put the “bad” in bad boy and his Chicago competitive roots were always on display for the world to see. Now he’s known to have strained and on again off again relationships with former players and those players not wanting to have anything to do with him.

Former LA Lakers great, Magic Johnson, stated in his book When The Game Was Ours, “‘Isiah killed his own chances when it came to the Olympics. Nobody on that team wanted to play with him. … Michael [Jordan] didn’t want to play with him. Scottie [Pippen] wanted no part of him. Bird wasn’t pushing for him. Karl Malone didn’t want him. Who was saying, ‘We need this guy?’ Nobody.” Ouch. These comments are a long way away from the “kiss heard around the world” between Magic and Isiah during the ’88 NBA Finals.

Ok, so putting Isiah’s athletic talent aside and what he contributed to the league as a player let’s get down to the matter at hand. Is this a good move for the Knicks, and is his new position a conflict of interest?

Under Isiah’s tenure from 2004 – 2008 the Knicks had a .368 winning percentage. They reached the playoffs in his first season but then failed to make the playoffs in all later seasons. The team just didn’t win games and (I hate to say it) was the doormat of the league.

 The draft picks didn’t get any better either. The most notable successful draft pick was David Lee who was the 30th pick in the 2005 draft. All other draft picks just haven’t worked out. While I know that drafting a player can be like rolling the dice, but the Knicks have passed on many guys that turned out to be great players. Rajon Rondo, Glenn “Big Baby” Davis, and Jordan Farmar were all passed up by the Knicks and went on the play in the2010 NBA Finals.  

Continue reading “Isiah Thomas – Back in a New York Minute”

“Warriors come out to play-yay!”

Where do the Golden State Warriors play?

Growing up in the Midwest I wasn’t familiar with many of the NBA Western Conference teams. And the name “Golden State” used to confuse the heck out of me. Come on you’ve got to give me a pass – I was little. Well just in case any readers out there are still unfamiliar with the Warriors let me give you a quick rundown.

Warriors History…

The Warriors Called Philly their home for 16 years before moving out West prior to the 1962-63 season. In 1962 Warriors legend Wilt Chamberlain poured in an NBA record 100 points, a mark that has never been close to being approached in the 47 years it has stood. Before the start of the 1971-72 season the Warriors moved across the bay to Oakland and officially became the Golden State Warriors. There are currently 17 members of the Warriors organization in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, including Chamberlain, Robert Parish, and Rick Barry who is known for his underhand free throws. The Warriors won two championships on the east and one championship on the west coast in 1974-75.

RUN-TMC

During the 80s and 90s the Warriors saw players come and go. The high scoring trio of point guard Tim Hardaway, guard Mitch Richmond, and forward Chris Mullin (collectively known as “Run-T.M.C.” after the rap group Run-D.M.C). Chris Webber of the Fab Five Fame and former Rookie of the Year. Latrell Sprewell and the chocking then head coach P.J. Carlisemo during a practice. The drafting of Todd Fuller. Fuller who? Just one of the twelve players chosen in the 1996 NBA draft over Kobe Bryant.

The 21st century ushered in more rebuilding and finally a 2007 playoff berth. Subsequent seasons have showed bright spots with the drafting of Stephen Curry who almost lead his mid-major squad to NCAA Final Four.

On another piece of history, today the Golden State Warriors were sold for $450 million, a record price for an NBA franchise. This breaks the previous record of $401 Million paid for the Phoenix Suns in 2004.

What’s interesting about this deal is that the perceived front-runner, Larry Ellison, CEO and Co-Founder of Oracle, did not secure the winning bid. Ellison has publicly stated that he offered a higher bid than the new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. It’s being reported that the difference in bids might have been around $50 million which if that is the case it’s somewhere right around 0.02% of his total wealth. Yes, Ellison is a billionaire and is the sixth richest man in the world.

So what happened?

Well what we do know is that Joe Lacob is no stranger to the NBA. He’s a minority owner of the Boston Celtics, which he will have to sell in order to take a full interest in the Warriors. He’s also a managing Partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the world’s leading venture capital firm. Lacob is also an active investing partner in KPCB’s Internet company initiative; he led the firm’s investment in AutoTrader.com and Sportsline.

Peter Guber is also a player in the sports and entertainment world. As a producer, among the many films he brought to the screen are Rain Man, Batman, Flashdance, The Color Purple and Midnight Express. He is the owner of Mandalay Sports Entertainment which has become a national sports entertainment provider, owning and/or managing professional baseball franchises, sports marketing and venue management.

Sal Galatioto, President of Galatioto Sports Partners and wizard of sports asset purchase agreements, said that Ellison offered a “marginally higher offer” just hours before the signing. “He was way past the deadline,” Galatioto said. “There was no way I was going to recommend that bid to Chris [Cohan]… Once the shot clock expires, are you allowed to get back on the court and have it count? I don’t think so.”

Even though I’m sure Galatioto knew that Ellison could put his money where his mouth is and follow through with his bid. It’s sounds as though Galatioto didn’t want to jeopardize the existing agreement that was worked out and on the table. You just don’t bid on a professional sports franchise the way you bid on an ebay auction. Even though the rejected bid was higher, it sounds as though it was still too risky to walk away from the ironed out agreement.

Either way without the extra cash Cohan, who purchased the team in 1994 for $119 million, is still making a profit on this deal. Considering the unstable economy, the fact that two NBA franchises recently sold in the $200 million range, and that Forbes has valued the Warriors franchise at $315 million Cohan made out alright.

And Warrior fans are still wondering when their team will be alright…Warriors PLEASE come out to play-yay.

Good Night Sports Fans,

Alana

LeBron has left the building…

Lebron JamesI’ve never seen anything like the events of the last several weeks. One player had enough power and influence to make grown men beg and cry. Ok, so I can’t say for sure if anyone actually cried over LeBron’s “LeDecision” or begged him to sign with their team, but there were plenty of theatrics along the way.

I wasn’t surprised by all of the sports journalist’s daily commentary. In fact, listening to all of the theories was actually entertaining at times. The hour long “The Decision” special that was on ESPN was “different,” but I can’t say I was surprised to see ESPN produce such a program. What did surprise me was Dan Gilbert’s, Cavaliers Majority Owner, Letter to Cleveland. Here’s a link to the letter just in case you haven’t read it yet. http://www.nba.com/cavaliers/news/gilbert_letter_100708.html

Typically in the NBA Mavs owner, Mark Cuban, is the “I will always speak my mind, go ahead and fine me owner,” and Dan Gilbert, well I don’t know. Until now he never drew much national media attention. Those of us from the Metro Detroit Area know of him through Quicken Loans fame and other business ventures. And if he was ever quoted in regards to the Cavs he always provided typically NBA owner sound bites. Well, not any more. To say that Dan Gilbert is upset that LeBron is leaving Cleveland is an understatement. He is maaaddddd, and taking names.

I can’t say that I can pick a side on this one. I guess what I really want to know is, whatever happened to “it’s a business?” Isn’t that what owners always tell athletes after they trade them or refuse to renew their contracts? Rather than getting personal or relying on loyalty don’t owners and front office management always seem to fall back on the statement “it’s a business?” So I’m wondering what changed in this situation? This situation got personal – fast. Not only did it get personal it’s almost as if the entire Northeast Ohio region bet their entire economy on one person. Seriously Ohio, did you bet the farm on LeBron in Vegas? I’m not saying you can’t be upset, but have a little pride. Did you forget your state single handedly decided the 2004 election? Hey Cleveland, I thought you said you Rock?

Maybe Cleveland you are a little to blame. Calling a player “The King” and “The Chosen One,” maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. Yes, LeBron is an outstanding and talented player, but you worshipped him and in the end you lost your identity. My mom always taught me that it’s ok to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them. It looks like LeDecision taught us all that it has to be about the name on the front of the jersey – not the back.

Good night sports fans,

Alana