David Stern, on the Sonics and Referees, Circa 1995 . . .
On questions of asking municipalities to contribute plenty of tax dollars to new entertainment venues . . . for comparison, Bill Davidson privately funded the Palace of Auburn Hills. It's older than Key Arena, is in fine condition, and has none of the shenanigans involved when municipalities are asked to open up their account to contribute money and influence.
This isn't to dismiss the current problems with the Sonics franchise, nor is it intended to make the Pistons look great. It's designed merely to state the obvious . . . the current Sonics ownership had no interest in staying in Seattle. When they bought that team, it was on the move, but nobody except for Clay Bennett and his partners knew that. The false pretenses make people very angry.
Nobody worth billions should ask for a municipality to fund a majority of finance for a new entertainment venue totaling in the hundreds of millions. What are people like Clay Bennett asking? They want insurance against a shaky product that may lose money. They want in cheap to earn enough to sell large and turn a real profit for themselves. It's like haggling for a house on a gigantic scale. They're asking for tax dollars. That is money for infrastructure, education, and other public resources, not a rainy day fund of the wealthiest incomes.
When you have a commissioner telling people that it isn't fair to ask the NBA about an "asset" that is part of their "corporation" . . . you tend to become enraged, if you love basketball.
If you are just a casual fan, crap like this makes you find other things, like "America's Got Talent," which drew almost as many viewers as Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals. Game 6 netted 11.6 million viewers to NBC's "America's" with 11.4 million. Or, you might choose video games to play instead. Or, you might go see a movie. Or, you exercise, take a walk in the park, read a book, update your internet pages . . . or you sleep.
The only consolation prize for Seattle . . . it may have been a poor version of the WWE, all along. You wouldn't be missing much.
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