These are the 13 richest owners in the NBA, courtesy of Time magazine:
13. New Orleans Pelicans Tom Benson = $1.3B
12. New York Knicks James Dolan = $1.5B
11. Minnesota Timberwolves Glen Taylor $1.7B
T9. Indiana Pacers Herb Simon $1.95B
T9. Memphis Grizzlies Robert Pera $1.95B
T7. Philadelphia 76ers Josh Harris $2.5B
T7. Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban $2.5B
6. Detroit Pistons Tom Gores $2.7B
5. Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert $3.9B
4. Denver Nuggets Stan Kroenke $5.3B
3. Miami Heat Mickey Arison $5.9B
2. Orlando Magic Richard DeVos $6.8B
1. Portland Trail Blazers Paul Allen $15.8B
So the next time the NBA–pulling in record revenues amid ever-increasing TV rights deals and a greater share of revenue now versus the players than before–imposes a lockout and starts crying about the need to protect small market teams from unfair competition against big-market bullies, remember:
Portland. Orlando. Denver. Cleveland. Memphis, Indiana. Minnesota. New Orleans.
Don’t think for a moment the sudden burst of morality that’s hit amidst the Donald Sterling controversy has anything to do with right and wrong. If the NBA was consistent about getting rid of despicable owners, Clay Bennett and his shady Chesapeake Energy-ass would be gone (not even including his dick move vs. the city of Seattle)…as would Dolan, for this…and Brooklyn’s Mikhail Prokhorov…and Cuban (the man just said if a black kid in hoodie approaches, HE CROSSES THE STREET!!!)…and others. Sterling is a cause celebre for owners for 2 reasons, neither of which touches on morality:
1) Sterling is the perfect canvas for others to now use to show us how good they are by not being him. So what if he’s in his 80s, has Alzheimer’s, and made comments he likely assumed were part of a private conversation? Burn, witch! Burn! And in thy dying flames may all Salem see we are not like thee!
2) Every time there’s a lockout, the NBA claims most of its teams are losing money, and so if the terms they want changed aren’t changed, the poor wittle billionaire’s club will go the way of the dodo, the polar bear (if not yet, soon), and the two-way center. If that’s true, why are teams rarely sold? If, as was claimed last time, 2/3rds of the teams are losing money, wouldn’t these rather astute owners (business-astute, anyway) more aggressively be exiting a losing game?
Because they’re lying. The last team that was sold was the Milwaukee Bucks. Not exactly the Hope Diamond of sports franchises. Yet they sold for $550M dollars. Just before them, the Sacramento Kings were sold for $534M. Sterling’s Clippers are about to be sold for over $2B. If the Clippers are sold for $2B, what are the Celtics now worth? The Bulls? The freaking Lakers? The most valuable NBA franchise, the Knicks, were recently appraised at $1.4B. What does their number jump to if the Clippers go for $2B?
That’s why they’re rushing Sterling out. Because they need a sacrifice. And because they like the money. And because if they can get people to believe New York has an unfair advantage over Orlando, why not sacrifice Sterling and act like it’s a morality play, instead of what the answer to 99 out of 100 questions always is?