On stolen teams and recognizing the real enemy

November 20, 2014

Among the many basketball items Sherman Alexie and John Moe discuss on this installment of Home Dunk is the late, great Seattle SuperSonics, their mutual favorite team.  The Sonics are the Oklahoma City Thunder now, and both men are still understandably bitter about the franchise’s move.  (Whenever articles about a business transaction include the word “sordid” in the headline, it is bad, I have been told.)

This brings me to a point that I think is very important: QUIT BEING MAD AT THE PLAYERS FOR MAKING MONEY.

Be mad at them for beating the hell out of their loved ones, or driving drunk and killing people, or being sexual predators.  These are really good reasons to be mad at them!  Don’t stop doing that!  But for the love of all that is good and right, don’t begrudge them their outrageous contracts for playing games.

The reasoning is simple.

  1. The owners are giving them this money of their own free will.
  2. The owners of professional sporting enterprises have a tendency, like Sonics/Thunder owner Clay Bennett, to be mendacious, cretinous, garbage people.

If these owners, who, when they’re not under indictment, are blackmailing American cities and taxpayers, want to spend a fraction, a mere fraction, of their wealth on a guy who can hit majestic home runs or run a perfect fast break, then I am all in favor of it, and you should be, too.

Do they deserve to make more money than, say, teachers of at-risk kids or nurses working double shifts?  I’d argue no, but that’s a whole philosophical “greater good” versus elite skill argument for another day.  But while you and I may curse the cosmic injustice of a pulling guard making more money than a beat cop, remember that pulling guards have to be incredibly nimble for their size, and that the guy signing his checks probably wants to move your favorite team to a Phoenix suburb.