Mavs Donuts: Billionaires Never Blink First
DONUT 1: Over the weekend I linked to this story on how the agents want the NBA players to decertify. I termed it "a powerful piece from Woj.''
It is that. But within the "powerful piece'' comes a continuing misunderstanding of who really has the "power'' in these negotiations ... or non-negotiations, if you prefer.
DONUT 2: Listen to the rhetoric, skillfully written by Woj, some of it his view, some of it from sources:
Woj: "There's growing restlessness within the NBA's most powerful agents, an uneasiness with the strategies of Billy Hunter and the Players Association. What's the strategy? How do we stave off economic Armageddon? This was the reason the agents came to New York for a meeting on Friday, and why they left an unmistakable impression on Hunter: Sooner than later, we want to decertify, file an antitrust suit and throw some fear into the owners.''
"Throw some fear into the owners''? Who are the agents kidding?
DONUT 3: Woj quotes an agent:
"Right now, it's a respectful disagreement with [the agents] and Billy," an agent briefed on the meeting told Yahoo! Sports. "But it's getting to a ‘[expletive]-you' point. We will blow this thing up."
"We''? "We'' who? The agents will "blow this thing up''?
DONUT 4: What he means is decertification -- that is, "blow up'' the union.
But that's a far cry from "blowing up'' the NBA -- which simply isn't going to happen as a result of the Players Association thinking the owners are prepared to budge.
The players (driven by the agents Woj mentions) can vote to decertify and file an antitrust suit and fool themselves into thinking "blowing it up'' will serve as motivation for the owners to move off their present position.
It won't move the owners. They don't need to move.
DONUT 5: Why do you think the owners are failing to negotiate right now? Why do you think the agents are meeting, trying to push Hunter into action? Why do you think the players side is the side leaking pleading-for-help info to reporters? (Check SI.com for the latest example of orchestrated leaking, titled "NBA stars looking abroad in earnest.'')
The players are moving because they have to. Each of them face a season without an income ... the average NBA player makes $5.1 million and the average guy plays, what, five years?
That guy -- with a mortgage and young children and a short shelf life -- always blinks before the billionaire blinks.
Hate them for it if you wish. But it's a fact: The reason the owners aren't moving is simple.
They don't need to.
DONUT 6: As a lifelong Twins fan, I'm happy that Bert Blyleven (287-250 in his 22-year Major League career) is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
But I'm still embarrassed, 26 years after it happened to me when I was in his team's clubhouse, that the practical joker Blyleven pulled on me his apparently infamous "Snotty Kleenex'' trick on me.
He eyeballs a newbie reporter, tells his buddies, "Watch this,'' then approaches the nervous, unassuming and maybe-awestruck kid and says, "Hold this.''
And then said nervous, unassuming and maybe-awestruck kid (me) is left standing in the middle of a giddy Major League clubhouse holding Bert Blyleven's used snot rag.
DONUT 7: Thanks to the fellas at AvidGolfer magazine, who did a review of the best Dallas Mavericks t-shirts in the world and placed two items from the Mavs DB.com Store in their top five!
DONUT 8: Here's the video that proves that Michael Jordan, at 48, can still dunk.
But here's where I need help:
Is this a big deal?
He's 48, not 68, and it's not like he's put on 60 pounds. He's 6-6, with a huge wingspan. Once upon a time he had a vertical leap of 40-plus, so it stands to reason that he retains, what, a 20-inch vertical?
My oldest son, Nate, was a 6-1 high-school football player with a 29-inch vertical. And he could dunk.
As someone who in his prime probably had an eight-inch vertical (I'm not kidding; I suck), it's all amazing enough to me. But I think the real MJ story will come the day he CAN'T dunk ... which looks like it might be a couple of decades from now.
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DONUT 10: We asked Leigh Steinberg over the weekend if Tony Romo has a chance to be like Troy Aikman. Leigh's answer was about three minutes long but never quite included the word "yes.''
DONUT 11: Let me throw one more negotiating bone at you today and then, for now, I'll quit beating up the players side:
Twenty years ago, I was able to spend a lot of time with the late Bob Ackles, a football lifer who made his bones in the CFL before working as an executive with the Cowboys under Tex Schramm and then Jerry Jones. (I believe Stephen Jones would testify that Ackles taught him much of what he knows about players contracts and the like.) When a player was unsigned, I would ask Ackles, "Why don't you make the phone call? Call the agent! Call the player!''
"Every time you're the one who picks up the phone,'' Bob would say, "you're the one who loses money.''
When you watch the actions of the noisy NBA players side vs. the actions of the still-water owners side ... which side do you think is the one violating the Bob Ackles Rule?
DONUT 12: Coming up later today: A real live medical student explains "MavVirus'' ... and how we all found the cure!