Wednesday, June 4, 2014

3 HUGE lessons to learn from the Donald Sterling saga

The last time I wrote an article on this joint, I defended Dwight Howard and blamed Laker fans for unfairly criticizing him. Then the traitorous bastard left us for Houston and I stopped writing for a while. So first of all, even though I was 100% right about what I said about that asshole, I apologize to all my fellow Laker fans for not joining on the hate early. (Although that very same hate might have been responsible for him leaving in the first place.) So anyways, 12 months, a trip to the motherland, a pregnant wife, and a baby later, I am back! (I thought about writing about the baby as my first article back but hey, you have to keep your priorities in order. So I chose to write about Donald Sterling instead.)

Lesson # 1: All press is good press...Sort of...

Answer this: If the Sterling tape was never leaked, and if Donald Sterling put up the Clippers for sale because he wanted to sell the team, without any controversy, would he have gotten the same price? Before you answer, keep in mind that the Forbes 2014 valuation for the Clippers was at 575 million. The highest any NBA team had ever been sold for was 550 million. (Milwaukee Bucks last month.) My answer is no. 

The Donald Sterling controversy was responsible for two very big factors that lead to the Clippers being sold for 2 billion dollars. The first and most important being that it increased the profile of the team. The Clippers became a household name in the non-sports household. The controversy shined a spotlight on the team's extremely likable superstar leader Chris Paul. The controversy shined a spotlight on the team's wise black coach who is beloved by everyone that knows him. The controversy shined a spotlight on the high flying Lob City duo of Blake Griffin and Deondray Jordan. As a direct result of this increased profile,  the Clippers franchise became more desirable in the eyes of those who can afford to buy a team. Prime example: Do you really think Oprah even gave two shits about the Clippers before the Donald Sterling controversy? I HIGHLY doubt it. She might not even have known they existed. And all of a sudden we hear that she wants to buy the team? The line of billionaire celebrities that wanted to buy this team went up to the Staples Center 300 section. And most of those people wouldn't have been in that line if this was a regular controversy-free sale of an NBA franchise.  

The second factor that came into play because of the leaked tape is a very basic economic principle. When you have a motivated seller, you will get a better price if you are the buyer. But a seller who is being FORCED to sell and is willing to fight to the death for his right NOT to sell? You can only imagine what motivated billionaires that want something will try to pay for something they can't have. And that is exactly what happened. The bidding started and everyone knew they had to go high in order to get Sterling to stop fighting and sell, and Steve Ballmer's bid turned out to be the highest. So ironically Donald Sterling's moronic words were responsible for him getting $2 billion for a team that he was FORCED to sell, which is more than TWICE as much as he would have gotten had he wanted to sell the team on his own. If I had not seen how much of an imbecile he looked on Anderson Cooper, I would have guessed he had planned the whole thing all along...Or maybe even that was just an act...Nah, he's too much of a moron for that. 

Lesson #2: The NBA only cares about one thing: The NBA

When everyone was calling for the NBA to do something about Donald Sterling, I was asking myself, why would they do anything? They already know he's a racist. It's been well documented in the past and the NBA has looked the other way. But of course when you are in the middle of the playoffs, and it's been one of the greatest first rounds of all time, in a point in time when the NBA has never been more popular or profitable than now, THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL YOU CAN HAVE PLAYERS BOYCOTTING PLAYOFF GAMES. Besides a swarm of killer bees being unleashed in the arena during game 7 of the Finals, playoff boycotts would basically be the worst case scenario, the 9/11 of any sports league. THAT was the difference between Sterling's discretions in the past and this one. This one affected the league's money/brand/popularity/image. So when NBA commisioner Adam Silver uttered the words "Banned for life" and imposed a maximum fine on Donald Sterling, forgive me if I didn't join in on the Martin Luther King Jr. comparisons. If you disagree, I need you to click on this link for me. Don't's not porn or some sort of virus.

Lesson #3: Steve Ballmer DID NOT overpay for the Clippers

According to Forbes, the Clippers net operating profit is approximately $15 million per year. With the $2 billion price tag, it would take Steve Ballmer about 133 years to break even if he never sold the team. Obviously these are rough estimates and I am not taking into account future improvements on operating profits, TV deals, and other factors. But even WITH all of that, this is not a very good investment in roughly financial terms by any estimation. Of course that could all change if another billionaire wants to buy this team for even higher. But what I am getting at here is that this is not a business investment. This is a toy. This is like me and you buying an XBOX. Let me put it in a context everyone can understand: 

If you loved taking it up the ass, but you weren't gay, and there were only 30 dildos made on Earth, and out of that only one dildo was immediately available for sale, and cucumbers/carrots/eggplants/bananas were all extinct, and you had pretty much an unimaginable amount of money, how much would you pay for that dildo? Exactly. Steve Ballmer's dildo is the Clippers. 

Lesson #4: In the end, Donald Sterling got EXACTLY what he deserved

Yes, you read that correctly. First of all, in a cosmic/karmic way, Donald Sterling should have been punished. Yes, he was illegally recorded and he has the freedom to say what he wants. So maybe he shouldn't have been punished for this specific incident, but he has gone unpunished for all the bullshit shenanigans he has pulled off in the past. The housing discrimination, the media manipulation, the unfair treatment of employees, all of the stunts he has pulled off with Clippers players coaches and executives. So I have no problem for punishing him for this when all the shit before has gone unpunished. 

With that said, many people are saying that Sterling walking away with $2 billion is not a punishment. But Sterling was worth 2 billion BEFORE the sale of the Clippers. When you are in your 80's what's another 2 billion when you already have 2 billion? Money doesn't mean shit to Donald Sterling at this point. The $2 billion is just a consolation prize for being illegally recorded in his own home. He already has so much money that he doesn't get off on making a huge profit. What the old racist bastard gets off on is being an "owner" of a franchise. He gets off on being an "owner" of black athletes. He gets off on sitting court-side as the "owner" and everyone looking at him and saying, look, that's Donald Sterling, the "owner" of the Clippers. He gets off on being the boss of people and paying them money for working for him.  He gets off on heckling and criticizing his own players (Baron Davis) DURING the game. He gets off on negotiating contracts, evaluating and devaluating players, and firing coaches and GMs, and not paying them according to their contracts. He gets off on bringing his friends and mistresses to the game of HIS franchise of which he is the "owner". And now, he cannot do any of that! He can't be the "owner." That is is a HUGE punishment for someone like Donald Sterling. If you can't understand this, it's simple...just go back and use the dildo analogy...

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly,
The King of Nothing