Friday, September 18, 2009

Stephen Jackson and the NBA's Quiet Desperation

Stephen Jackson or "S-Jax" was fined $25000 for conduct "detrimental to the NBA." Several hoops sites already profiled this fine, such as Warrior blogger Tim Kawakami and Henry Abbott. They pointed out the hypocrisy of Stephen getting fined for making a trade demand while Kobe was not. But there was another point that I want to highlight.

Simply put, the fine shows you how desperate the NBA's economic situation truly is. The Golden State Warriors are at least in the top half of season ticket sales and attendance by most metrics I looked up. Just a few years ago, their fans had the most passionate play-off performance seen in the NBA since perhaps the heyday of the Jazz or Kings. And yet, they're coming off a bad year, in a state plagued by poor economic management. Stephen's trade demand is a sort of economic blackmail. He's their only marquee star right now that they can market for ticket renewals. (No, the casual fan can't appreciate that Randolph, Curry, and Ellis all may be future All-Stars). In my mind, the NBA fined him because they realized just how great an effect a trade demand can have on a team's ticket sales in this weak economy. And if that is truly why--that one average star in a passionate sports town can have that much effect on ticket renewals--the NBA is in a much more precarious position than they have admitted so far.


  1. I think that area is probably a little more economically fragile than most NBA cities. Golden State is in the Bay area and you can see the same effect on the Oakland A's in baseball. If Golden State were to trade Jackson, then most fans would lose what is a widely recognized face in their community. Though, seeing Baron Davis leave probably had a bigger impact than what Jackson would.

  2. kind of curious about your take on the whole deadspin/steve phillips debacle...