Rick Barry doubles down on the divine right of kings


Rick Barry doubles down on the divine right of kings

Rick Barry surprised nobody with his analysis of the criticism of the Trump Administration. He showed his general view on dissent five years ago at the Chris Mullin jersey retirement ceremony.

You remember that bright spot in Warrior history. New owner Joe Lacob, who was already paying for the sins of his predecessor Chris (The Hologram) Cohan and had traded the popular Monta Ellis to turn his backcourt (and his fabulous future) over to the upstart W.S. Curry, was uproariously booed as he stood on a stage at center court in Oakland.

That’s when Barry grabbed the microphone and lectured the rabble.

“C’mon people, show a little bit of class,” he said. “This is a man, that I’ve spent some time talking to, he is going to change this franchise. This is crazy. seriously. C’mon. You’re doing yourself a disservice. All the wonderful accolades being said to you, for you to treat this man, who is spending his money to do that best that he can to turn this franchise around, and I know he’s going to do it. So give him the respect he deserves.”

It is important here to keep his comments within the timeline, as neither he nor anyone else knew what would become of the Warriors three years hence. But it is also to be noted that he dismissed long-suffering customers who had endured decades of rancid basketball since he retired in 1980. They were more than entitled to vent their collective spleen.

But Barry is a man who, rightly and wrongly, believes in the divine right of authority to be treated as authority, which is why what he told USA Today sounds so much like what he told the Coliseum Arena audience that night.

“It’s a disgrace to the world, to our country, what they’re doing,” he said. “The scrutiny that he’s going under is absurd. It’s ridiculous. Politics has always been horrible and it’s even worse now than it was. What’s going on now is reprehensible.”

We now follow with the requisite caveats. He is entitled to his view, as are we all. He is also entitled to express it, as are we all. But his world view is not the issue here as much as his intolerance of people who loudly object to the powers that be by loudly objecting on the behalf of the powerful. It is very much a case of “I’m talking now to tell you to stop talking,” and less explicable, it says that in his world view, respect should automatically be granted to the powerful rather than earned. And when it comes to being a president, or even an NBA owner, it has to be re-earned constantly.

Lacob has managed to do so, a remarkable effort by any metric. Trump is well on his way to failing completely, but that remains an open debate.

Either way, Rick Barry is as Rick Barry has been, and as we suspect he will always be – deferential to the powerful, dismissive of most of everyone else. It’s not a course for the timid, and certainly not for those who wish to, well, be respected.

The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act


The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

Gavin and Joe Maloof have gambled plenty in their lives, which is in part how they ended up losing the Sacramento Kings. They ran big, they hit a dry well, and they ended up selling the works.

So their decision to bet $880,000 on Floyd Mayweather in his “thing” with Conor McGregor for a $160,000 payout seemed the perfectly daft idea for two guys who were painted as perfectly daft when they were running the Kings and their other businesses into a freeway abutment on I-80.

In fairness, they are planning to donate their winnings to a number of charities in the name of their hangover drink (Never Too Hungover, although I might have gone with the more lyrical HurlNoMore), so it’s not like their hearts aren’t a place close to the mythical “right place.”

But it does beg the question, “Why don’t they just give $160,000 and skip the scam?” Because it wasn’t about charity, it was about promotion, and while there’s nothing wrong with promotion, attaching it to one of the seediest carnival events of the modern era makes it seem, well, kind of creepy.

Or maybe “creepy” is too strong. Maybe’s it’s just opportunism, which is more, well, Vegas-y.

Kings fans will remember the Maloofs as the family that saved the foundering team from the clutches of owner Jim Thomas, and then remember them as the family whose clutches Vivek Ranadive had to save the team from 15 years later. It’s the nature of most ownerships – you do good to eliminate a prior evil, and eventually become evil yourselves when the fans turn on you.

But the Maloofs aren’t evil – even their most strident critics will say that. They just saw an opportunity to scratch a bunch of itches at once – good-heartedness, advertising, gambling and Vegas’ most important product – selling you things you could never imagine wanting.

It almost makes you wonder if they harbor a secret itch to take the $160,000 and double down on behalf of the charities for another of their pet projects – the Vegas Golden Knights. If they put it on the Knights to win the Stanley Cup at 200-1, that’s $32,000,000. Then if they took that and . . .

. . . and before you know it, they’re trapped in the fantasyland of Las Vegas at its weirdest. Maybe it’s just performance art with more money than most of us can eat.

NBA misses chance to whip the golden calf with Warriors' 2017-18 schedule


NBA misses chance to whip the golden calf with Warriors' 2017-18 schedule

In a major upset and disappointment to marketers across the nation, the National Basketball Association schedule did not feature the Golden State Warriors playing every single day.

Rather, the league allotted them only the traditional 82 games, just like all the other schmoes, and in the usual formats – 41 at home, 52 against teams in the Western Conference, 16 against their fellow travelers in the Pacific Division, and the average number of back-to-backs.

Indeed, it was an announcement about nothing much at all, except for season ticket holder groups who need to split up the inventory.

But given the new reality – that Golden State is the center of the universe and everybody else has been relegated, Pluto-style, to dwarf planet status, it is a wonder the NBA didn’t make the Warriors play every night. One-hundred-seventy-seven consecutive nights, one hellish back-to-back on a tape loop, including through the All-Star Break. After all, inventory is inventory.

(We will now take a moment to let it it sink in to you all that this is all sarcasm, because we live in a world where all the jokes must be explained before the punch line arrives).

The league also didn’t make them play on Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, Easter or Super Bowl Sunday, meaning that they missed our four most religious holidays (and yes, Thanksgiving is religious as hell in a culture where gluttony is three of the 10 commandments). This is devotion to the fairness of the competition gone mad.

You have to know there are people in the league office who wondered aloud why the Warriors only get to play the same number of games as Phoenix or Brooklyn or Orland or the New York Knicks. You have to know advertisers wanted more Stephen Curry/Kevin Durant/Draymond Green/Klay Thompson sales opportunities.

But no, all they get is the standard schedule, with the trip to New Orleans in the first week, the Christmas special against the smoldering innards of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the 30-some-odd national games. In short, imagination has failed the league here.

(Remember, sarcasm).

And while playing every day forever would likely break the carousel for good, that is hardly the league’s concern. Adam Silver saw the disaster that came in the postseason, when the Warriors played only one game more than the minimum, and how the television networks shrieked in outrage. This should have been a lesson to them.

But they’ll learn, maybe next year. The new economy is all about whipping the golden calf until a new golden calf comes along. And while players are disposable, marketing departments aren’t. Ask anyone on the business side.

And that's not sarcasm.