Thursday, July 14, 2011

The NBA Can't Tell The Truth About Anything

Today, the NBA laid off about 114 people, or 11% of its league office workforce, in New York, New Jersey, and parts around the world. And such is the level of public trust and integrity that the place now has that they claim the two following things that everyone knows to be, well, cue bald lies. And not even cue bald, but things that any child past the age of toilet training would know to be lies.

Lie the First: That this is part of "larger cost-cutting measures to reduce our costs by $50 million across all areas of our business."

Let's do the math, shall we? $50 million bucks divided by 114 people comes out to $438,596 per employee. I'm going to assume, just for funsies, that the average NBA office cubicle occupier didn't pull in that kind of money in a year. Not unless the NBA (a) has the world's most expensive benefits package, or (b) was counting the salaries for, oh, the next 5 to 10 years.

So the $50 million number is, as you might have guessed as soon as you heard the big round scary number, utter bullspit. (Or if David Stern himself got the axe. Probably not.) They saved maybe a million bucks today. In the immortal words of Derrick Coleman, Whoop De Damn Do. More importantly, they told the story of Big Fear and We're Serious. Serious about screwing a few more working people, maybe. Just what the country needs. Moving on...

Lie the Second: The layoffs are "not a direct result of the lockout, but rather a response to the same underlying issue; that is, the league's expenses far outpace our revenues."

Really? Well, um, simple question: why is anyone still employed in the league offices at all? 11% isn't going to get you where you need to go, folks: if you really want to lose weight fast, hacking off a few toes is child's play when you could just start sawing away around the rib cage. And if you really are having so much trouble paying the bills, why does the WNBA continue to exist?

No, what's really happening here is that the NBA is losing what it no longer wants (the NBA Store on 5th Avenue, the studios in Seacaucus, as if there's any reason in the digital age to have a studio in a part of the world where real estate costs serious money -- consider how much ESPN has saved over the decades by being in Bristol), offices in Paris and Tokyo where those markets already get enough of the league on satellite and the Web, staff in Detroit and Charlotte. There's no reason for any of this stuff, other than to chop it for PR, then sneak it back in later when the corrupt and complicit media isn't watching. (As if it's ever really watching anymore.) Besides, the Association doesn't really need such a work force anymore, not when the fans do so much of the heavy lifting via social media and YouTube, and the lifting ain't heavy at all, really.

I don't doubt that the Association has lost money. I also don't doubt that anyone reading this should give a crap, or that whether or not billionaires make money on their playtoys is of any concern to anyone other than the billionaire. When a high end real estate purchase doesn't appreciate in value the way that its plutocrat thinks it should, should the public "suffer", or just the speculator? We know the way any reasonable person would answer. We also know the way a sports team owner would.

And they'd fix the problem if they could (a) stop spending money they claim they don't have, or (b) call all of our bluff and fold your oh so unprofitable, cursed, no-good, doomed doomed doomed *doomed* franchise.

Oh, but then we'd have to tell the truth about something, wouldn't we? Namely, that you'd be walking away from something that's worth hundreds of millions of dollars, no matter how much money it's supposed to be losing. The Sixers just sold for a quarter of a billion dollars to some new walking wallet, despite not coming with a stadium deal, not giving the full control of the club, in a lockout, and in a time when the NBA says its losing so much money, it can't even keep it's staff.

And they wonder why labor doesn't find them to be very believable. Or anyone else with a brain.

Play me out, Christie...

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