Hey audience, apparently not every weekend discussion thread needs an anchoring topic, though there are some good ones in culture and sports right now. Doing an experiment where you guys just talk. What topics are of interest right now for ya?
How much of the NBA's player empowerment is driven by the ever growing chasm between the economic value of a star player to his franchise vs his capped salary number? It seems to me the emergence of player empowerment is directly correlated to the expansion of that chasm. How many suitors would KD/Lebron/Harden have in an uncapped NBA if their going annual salary was $65m? Wouldn't a large part of the non-monetary compensation(absolute veto power on personnel decisions, ability to ask for a trade on a whim, etc) currently being ceded to star players mostly vaporize? The number of teams bending over backward to lure a $65/year player would be a handful vs today, where 30 of 30 teams would take KD even with all of his empowered baggage. If there were no salary cap, would KD, Kyrie, and Harden be running the Nets? European soccer players who are unsubjected to caps are only as powerful as their ability to fish for larger contracts. This seems to confirm my point.
Furthermore, why is the impact of the cap never raised in conversations about player empowerment in the NBA?!
Open to anyone who wants to chime in - What’s up with the wnba? Is the league flexing its muscles on pushing the media to cover the womens game more? Maybe 2-3 years ago, bunch of writers on twitter started doing semi regular tweets heaping praise on various wnba players. But it’s like, no more than once every 7-10 days. Them going from zero mentions ever to being overly effusive l, but only sparsely, makes it feel like a PR stunt.
I'd love for you to write about Woj at some point.
I would love for you to write/talk about the sports agency business, the mergers, 80% of nba/nfl being repped by a few similar to media... lamar jackson no agent, doing his own contract
Ethan, I liked the piece comparing NBA to NFL and attributing the divergent trends to Twitter, but I think you missed a big issue: the impact of Fantasy Football on viewership. I think a lot of NFL viewers are less interested in watching the games for the games and more interested in whether Jonathan Taylor gets more than 63 total yards from scrimmage. It seems some of the most popular sporting events and leagues in the world have some kind of derivative, engagement hook like that (FF and the NFL, the bracket and the NCAA hoops tourney, gambling and European soccer), and the NBA doesn't quite have something like that. Unless the social media stuff counts, and for the reasons you described it may be more of a substitute for the games than a complement. I'd be curious on your take around how that may evolve for the NBA and in sports in general.
Player investments - something we hear a lot about (Kobe Body Armor! Lebron Blaze Pizza! KD boardroom!) but only in a fawning way, and typically directly from them
1) What are these guys actually invested in? And how are they making those decisions?
2) As we see more ESG fund mandates and the NBA leaning into woke league branding, are players prioritizing those investments? Would fans care? Can we even see that?
3) Do investment opportunities create a permanent imbalance in the NBA? The same way it does for the general labor market? SF/NYC good, Memphis/OKC bad
Also, fantasy. I went from a casual NFL fan to obsessive bc of fantasy football. There’s also been an inverse relationship between my NBA and NFL fandom. Can the NBA ever its gambling/fantasy interest to a comparable level to NFL? Or is this structural due to player/team incentive issues + number of games?
Your experiences of living on both coasts should be explored in how theNBA is written about. Should the League move or even rotate its offices in different cities so that the commish could understand his franchise challenges better? The challenge of popularity for the NBA would be better served if leadership was more diverse geographically.
What is the reaction/impact of Janet yellen talking about an unrealized gains tax in Silicon Valley and the nba. Would basically force any founder who hadn’t had a liquidity event to sell their company. Would really hurt nba players as well as they own a lot of property and investments
Would be interested on your take on Premier League growth in the U.S and whether Americans will ever fully buy in to a sport not primarily based in the US
I know everyone has an opinion on the nba’s vaccination policies but I imagine you have a unique angle/approach on the topic. Seems like everyone is talking past one another and you have a good way of cutting through that noise.
What is ESPN’s next move for NBA coverage?
Multiple sources now show U.S. murders increased ~30% in 2020. Murder is up another 10% in 2021.
Why so little talk about murders, gun control, crime even among the "socially aware" sports and athletes? Doesn't this lend a little more weight to the criticism that athletes only pile onto a few "popular" social causes like police reform, while totally ignoring other equally-worthy social issues (or even worse, e.g. defense of the CCP around Hong Kong and Xinjiang)?
This is a sore spot with me, as my family has been majorly impacted by the recent crime wave.
Is there a large or notable division that is noteworthy enough to be generalized and written about among black and white NBA players?
If there is one topic that may be of interest that would be incredibly alarming to everyone in and around basketball is how the Regional Sports Networks are crumbling.
This article here about Comcast Dropping MSG notes that 95% of cable subscribers don’t watch the games
Dish Network has or is currently dumping almost all RSN
Dish dumped all regional sports networks last December in Northern Ca and has no plans to bring any back
I wonder how far this trend is going to go.
Few topics of interest that no writers seem to want to address: (1) Why is Brian Windhorst, who basically should be considered LeBron James' official spokesperson at this point, able to direct diatribes about other teams and players (e.g. Ben Simmons) with zero repercussions - shouldn't employees of LeBron (including Rich Paul) be subject to some form of oversight?, (2) As the world heads towards ESG, particularly in business, how does the sneaker-dependent NBA transition to more ethical companies / sources of revenue or does Nike run the show indefinitely?, (3) The Steph Curry / rest of NBA divide - as a Warriors writer I thought it would be interesting to see how the rest of the NBA views his rise, particularly as an UA rep, and how the league responded to KD joining Steph vs. the very mute response to KD joining Harden, Irving, Griffin, Aldridge, Millsap etc. on the most talented team ever assembled (and why the responses have been so different)?
Hey mate would love you to have bret Weinstein and heather Heying on your podcast. They recently released a book called a hunter gatherers guide to the 21st century.
As a young journalist, I would be interested to hear if you think can get by in the industry in 2021 without being on Twitter? I want to quit but will I be shooting myself in the foot?
Yo, Strauss, what if your dove head-first and knee-deep into Why UAB and Alabama should play in football.
I’d love to read more on the tax dodge shenanigans that owners use to depreciate their franchises when in fact their value keeps growing.
Anything about Klay’s boat honestly would be amazing
NBA viewership decline is a sensitive top with everyone who loves the NBA. The argument, i.e. Mark Cuban, is viewership options have changed so it can't measure the same as in the past. NBA officials and ownership see the decline, what is the real story behind the scene they are trying to do to change course.
The dynamic between anti vaccination as a stance and as a personal practice. We decry people who don't take vaccines on the internet, but are people doing the same to those closest to them? There is also an interesting element of risk tolerance and acceptability which I find interesting. Some people are more comfortable than others and I am curious as to why that is.