Sunday, July 24, 2011

Math Not Math

Here's a transparently timed story: basketball related income and total player compensation both grew by 4.8% last year, as per an audit.

So, um... where's the crisis that caused the Association to cease its existence?

Well, forget that, folks! Focus instead on how the average NBA player salary was over $5 million, and that the average salary rose by 16 percent... over the past six years. That's outrageous, right? Over $5 million a year to play hoop, with raises that... well, actually, are right in line with inflation. But still, $5 million a year! Hate the players!

Except that, well, $5 million a year to be in the top .0001% percent of a profession that attracts millions of people every year who are willing to pay top-shelf stadium prices to watch their product, and hundreds of millions watch on telecasts... doesn't actually sound out of line. Not if you, well, believe in capitalism, which most people claim to, except when they are reminded that their own life choices, genetics and genealogy do not add up to a $5 million annual salary, and the attention of hot and hotter running groupies.

So, ask yourself the following question... why are these numbers hitting the media now, as we reach Day 22 of NBA Held Hostage? Simple, of course: to make you Hate Hate Hate those Greedy Greedy Players, all of whom are just like Insert Your Least Favorite Player Here, and none of whom are just like Your Favorite Player, or like the gritty D-League guy that made you feel all of that underdog love. (JJ Barea, if you are a Mavs fan, or just enjoyed what he did to the LeBroniacs a few months back, when we all got to pay attention to things that are more fun than this post.)

Ah, but such is the way of these things, and such is the sad easy way in which the public is manipulated. Burn a flag, show a regrettable minority member getting paid, and cite the average salary of athletes to a public of people who would happily pay to wear the laundry of their favorite team, then sit back and watch the hate. It's just that easy. And meaningless, and besides the point of a negotiation, and never, ever corrected by the simple opposing viewpoint of what, say, Donald Sterling has made in the past couple of decades...

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