Tongue-Tied: Jeremy Lin and Media Dialogue on Race Matters | Urban Cusp


Jeremy Lin and Media Dialogue on Race Matters

David J. Leonard

I spent much of the last two weeks watching New York Knicks games, a painful reality given my unwavering loyalty to the Los Angeles Lakers, to participate in the phenomena that has come to be known as Linsanity. When not watching games, my days have been spent listening to interviews, reading commentaries, and debating and discussing Jeremy Lin’s meteoric rise. Among the many things I have noticed is how we as a society lack a level of media literacy, seemingly accepting the narrative disseminated by the national media. With little reservation or questions, there is little room to think critically about how Lin is being positioned within most media circles.

For example, we have been told that Lin “came out of no where.” Simultaneously erasing his experiences and the hard work that led him to become the starting PG with the Knicks and his past successes (at Harvard, including dominating performance against UCONN; during the NBA summer leagues), the “out of no where” idea reflects the “American Idolization” or the “The Apprentization” of American life. Discounting hard work, talent, and a myriad of factors, we increasingly live in a society that imagines the American Dream as simply around the corner, available with a little bit of luck and opportunity.

The appeal of Lin as “coming out of no where” does not reflect the power of stereotypes but a sense of pleasure that comes with our collective belief that our dreams can come true. Irrespective of the profession, we all believe or think we can “come out of no where” to garner success and appreciation. Such belief in meritocracy and in the American Dream reflects a certain level of Lin’s appeal, a fact that should elicit self-reflection and critical analysis.

Likewise, the belief that Lin is undermining, if not eliminating, stereotypes about Asian Americans, is optimistic to say the least. Timothy Yu’s “Will Jeremy Lin’s Success End stereotypes?” embodies this hope: “American culture tells us, in short, that Lin shouldn’t exist. Every time he drives to the basket, he upends stereotypes of Asians as short, weak and nerdy. Every time he talks to the media, he dispels the idea that all Asian-Americans are like foreigners speaking broken English.”

Jay Caspian Kang pushes this conversation further arguing that it isn’t simply Lin’s presence on the court that undermines longstanding stereotypes but the style that he plays with. “I’m sure we’d all like to peg the humble Asian kid as unselfish. But Lin can be a bit of a black hole [with the ball]. Some of his most exciting baskets have come on drives that start around half court.” Yet, that isn’t the narrative in circulation. As noted by Picca and Feagin, stereotypes “act, like self-fulfilling prophecies tend to be reinforced when new information fits them, while information that negates a stereotype tends to be rejected.” The stereotype, in itself, impairs our ability to see the reality.

For example, in the aftermath of the Knicks loss the New Jersey Nets, which was Lin’s first game playing alongside Carmelo Anthony, the criticisms directed at Anthony focused on his selfishness and ball-hogging approach in the game despite the fact that Lin took 18 shots compared to Melo’s 11. Understanding the desire to see Lin as a “game changer,” as someone who is ushering in a new racial moment, the persistence of inequality and institutional racisms leaves me questioning the level of optimism, one that seemingly places stereotypes on the doorstep of those who have been confined within the prism of racial expectations.

One of the emergent narratives, especially in the wake of the tweets from Jason Whitlock and Floyd Mayweather, ESPN’s headline and the MSG “fortune cookie” image, has been the ways in which racism has been directed against Asian American communities. While illustrating the profound ways that racism guides both public discourse and material conditions impacting AAPI communities, the efforts to create a hierarchy whereupon anti-Asian prejudice (institutional racism is never figured) is tolerated whereas anti-black or anti-Latino racism is met with opposition and condemnation represents a significant failure.

continue reading @ Tongue-Tied: Jeremy Lin and Media Dialogue on Race Matters | Urban Cusp.

NewBlackMan: Pride and Prejudice: Jeremy Lin and the Persistence of Racial Stereotypes

Pride and Prejudice:

Jeremy Lin and the Persistence of Racial Stereotypes

by David J. Leonard | NewBlackMan

The recent success and national visibility afforded to Jeremy Lin has both inspired Asian Americans and has been driven by the adoration and pride he elicits from some within the community. Whether on twitter, Facebook, or in the stadiums, it is clear that Lin is not simply a national phenomena but a treasure for the Asian American community.

According to Jamilah King, “regardless of how the rest of the season goes for Lin, and the Knicks, his moment in the spotlight is an important time to reflect on how the country views its Asian American athletes.” Whereas past Asian athletes, whether it be Yao Ming or Ichiro captured the global Asian Diaspora’s imagination, Lin is the most widely recognized Asian American athlete on the American team sport scene. Timothy Dalrymple highlights the appeal of Lin to Asian American males:

He particularly has a following amongst Asian-Americans. And some Asian-American young men, long stereotyped as timid and unathletic, nerdy or effeminate or socially immature — have fought back tears (which may not help with the stereotype, but is understandable under the circumstances) as they watched Jeremy Lin score 25 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds for the New York Knicks.

In “Asian Americans energized in seeing Knicks’ Jeremy Lin play,” J. Michael Falgoust elucidates his cultural power within the Asian American community in quoting the thoughts of several different people:

“I don’t care about the outcome. I just want to see him in action. He’s as good of an Asian American athlete as there is” — Rose Nguyen

“I’m so proud. I don’t care if he is Chinese or Korean. I had to see him … my boyfriend has been talking about him so much” — Christine Lee

“I’m really excited. He breaks so many stereotypes. And my friends are just as excited. If you go to my Facebook feed, it’s all Jeremy Lin. I like that he plays smart. But then he’s from Harvard. So that is expected. He is also humble. He reminds me a lot of Derrick Rose, who’s always crediting teammates” — Andrew Pipathsouk

Andrew Leonard similarly argues that Lin’s popularity amongst Asian Americans is emblematic of the power of social media and also the pride that athletic success garners for Asian Americans, otherwise seen as “nerds” not “jocks.” While problematically invoking the language of “genetics” that erases Lin’s tremendous athleticism/speed, Leonard concludes that Lin inspires Asian American kids who yearn for a masculine role model given persistent invisibility and anti-Asian racism within the public square. “He’s a triumph of will over genetic endowment, a fact that makes him inspiring to an entire generation of Californian kids restless with their model minority shackles,” he notes.

On Monday, the social media world was also getting worked up about Michigan Republican Senate hopeful Pete Hoekstra’s racist Super Bowl ad, featuring a Chinese woman (labeled “yellowgirl” in the HTML code for the Web version) gloating over all the jobs her country was taking from the U.S. Once thrown into the 24/7 crazy cultural mashup perpetual motion machine, it didn’t take long before anger about that ad ran head on into Jeremy Lin pride. I have seen tweets urging Jeremy Lin to run for the Republican nomination for the Michigan senate seat, tweets warning that the only American jobs in danger from Asians are those belonging to New York Knick starting point guards, and even a tweet riffing off Kobe Bryant’s self-identification as “black mamba” — Jeremy Lin is suddenly the “yellow mamba.”

Lin has trended #1 on twitter on three successive game days, was top-10 searched items on Sina Weibo and is all the talk of the sports world. For the moment, it is Jeremy Lin’s world and we are all just living in it.

The pride and possibility reflects the broader erasure and invisibility of Asian Americans within popular culture (minus this year’s Top Chef). “Asians are nearly invisible on television/movies/music, so any time I see an Asian on TV or in the movies, I feel like I’ve just spotted a unicorn, even though usually, I see them being portrayed as kung-fu masters/socially awkward mathematical geniuses/broken-English-speaking-fresh-off-the-boat owner of Chinese restaurant/nail salon/dry cleaners,” writes one blogger. “Anyway, this phenomenon is 10x worse in sports. While there has been some notable progress with Asians in professional baseball, Asians are all but non-existent in the big three sports in the US (football, basketball, baseball).”

Continue reading @ NewBlackMan: Pride and Prejudice: Jeremy Lin and the Persistence of Racial Stereotypes.

Paterno, White Patriarchy and Privilege – Entertainment & Culture – EBONY

Paterno, White Patriarchy and Privilege

OPINION: The hero’s farewell given to the disgraced coach speaks volumes

By David Leonard Writer

When the news broke that Penn State’s football coach, Joe Paterno had died of lung cancer, one might have thought there had been some sort of great national tragedy based on the media coverage. The spectacle that began with this “breaking news” did not end with the initial reports, but has continued with ample columns, discussions, tributes, and memorials to a football coach. Described as an “icon” a “revered coach,” “a leader,” and “a legend,” Paterno has been further lionized the short time after his death. Ivan Maisel, in his tribute to Paterno, captures the hyperbolic tone of the post-death commentaries

The 409 victories, while record setting, are not the full measure of the man. The young men he left behind, the campus to which he devoted his life, a campus whose leaders shoved him aside in the panicky, feverish days after the scandal broke, also give testimony to the life of Joseph Vincent Paterno. The whole of his life renders the seismology of modern-day journalism moot. The facts of a 62-year coaching career were shaken. They did not topple over.

Eulogies citing his success on the field, his millions of dollars in donations, his “fatherly” relationship with his players, and his importance in the community, have sought to elevate Joe Paterno as saint. Despite everything that has happened, the sports punditry has sought to resuscitate a “the image of Joe Paterno,” one which Bomani Jones noted “is null and void.”

This is not to say that media coverage has erased his connection, involvement, and culpability for the alleged child molestation committed by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky (see here for discussion). The tragedy in his death rests with the cloud of uncertainty, contempt, and unease about Paterno’s legacy. The ubiquity of the memorials reflected a societal unease that “he was, like so many of the characters in the books he told us to read, unable to have a perfect ending.” The references to the scandal become the pretext for the celebration because without it, there would be no reasons for the story of redemption and hero worship to the extent we are seeing. His connection to the sex abuse scandal has thus been pushed aside, serving as little more than a footnote to justify the societal mourning of a great football coach. “I really do believe that the drama of his last two months has fueled the media barrage. There is a high-octane effort aimed at defining his legacy as positive. That takes a lot of sweat equity given the recent scandals,” noted Dave Zirin in a message to me.

In many regards, the discussion around his death is framed around the last few months, his firing, the scandal itself, and his involvement. This is why there is so much celebration and this is why it is breaking news. It is difficult to imagine the extent and scope of the commentaries and celebrations had the last two months not occurred; I would be hard pressed to come up with an athlete or sports figure (celebrity) whose death has provoked so much memorializing as we have seen with Joe Paterno.

The efforts to memorialize and the hyper celebration also reflect the power of White masculinity and nostalgia within the cultural landscape. Described as a “model of law-abiding sportsmanship,” “a disarming mix of a lofty diploma and Brooklyn-bred blue-collar grit,” and as someone committed to education and honor, Joe Paterno’s importance exists apart from titles, victories, or football within the national conversation. As noted by Rick Reilly, Paterno “was a humble, funny and giving man who was unlike any other coach I ever met in college football. He rolled up his pants to save on dry cleaning bills. He lived in the same simple ranch house for the last 45 years. Same glasses, same wife, same job, for most of his adult life.”

The celebration of Paterno as patriarch, as the embodiment of a White working-class ethic, as a coach of a different era, sits at the core of the demoralization of Paterno. The national mourning in this regard reflects both a desire to redeem him in the face of the sex abuse scandal and to celebrate nostalgia for a different era of college sports and a heroized White working-class masculinity.

Continue reading @ Paterno, White Patriarchy and Privilege – Entertainment & Culture – EBONY.

The Economics of the Super Bowl: On ‘The Woodstock for the 1%’ | Urban Cusp

The Economics of the Super Bowl:

On ‘The Woodstock for the 1%’

By David J. Leonard

UC Columnist, Eye on Culture

America’s biggest unofficial national holiday, Super Bowl Sunday, is more than a football game. It is a celebration of military prowess (in 2011, the Navy spent 450,000 tax-payer dollars to conduct its 2011 flyover), excess, and a culture of wealth. With tickets going for $3,000-4,000 a piece, and millions of dollars going to local businesses (although this number is often overstated), the economics of the Super Bowl are as important as questions about Rob Gronkowski’s injury and the potential dominance of Giants defensive line. Yet, the economic question transcends the issues of the “local economy” as the Super Bowl is yet another party for the rich, by the rich, and of the rich.

“The Super Bowl is perennially the Woodstock for the 1%: a Romney-esque cavalcade of private planes, private parties, and private security,” writes Dave Zirin. Tony Koreheiser once described the Super Bowl as “a celebration of concentrated wealth,” while Dave Zirin, in his discussion of festivities in Detroit a few years back, identified the festivities as a 2-week “binge.” Still relevant today, Zirin describes the Super Bowl as little more than a cross between Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and My Super Sweet 16:

Every Super Bowl Sunday, corporate executives and politicians exchange besotted, sodden backslaps, amidst an atmosphere that would shame Jack Abramoff. Only this year the bacchanalia — complete with ice sculptures peeing Grey Goose vodka and two tons of frozen lobster flown directly to the stadium — is happening in the United States’ most impoverished, ravaged city: Detroit.

The image of the Super Bowl as Americana, tailgates, beer and hot dogs, is a misnomer at best, given the predominance of America’s 1%. 2010 set a record for the number of private jets landing for a Super Bowl with 400, only to be left in the dust with 600 private jets in 2011. “For the private jet business, the Super Bowl is the, well, Super Bowl of private jet rentals. Every year, like monarchs to Mexico, a swarm of private jets descends on the big game to unload the rich and powerful football fans,” writes Robert Frank. There’s no tailgating under the tail fins, or downing buffalo wings on the wing of the G550. But for some reason, private-jetting and football have always gone well together for February’s big game.” The 2012 Super Bowl may surpass these past records.

Planes are not the only excess. According to one report, 35% ticket holders write off the game as a business expense. Highlighting the ways in which the Super Bowl is a party for billionaires, whether it be team owners, corporate executives, or other members of the 1%, the disparities and disconnect that will be on full display this Sunday, should give pause.

The 1% has a lot to celebrate at the Super Bowl given the amount of money generated because of the football game, very little of which goes to the players and the other people who make the game happen. According to Wall Street Journal report, over 5 million NFL fans will stimulate the economy through upgrading their television in anticipation of the game. Additionally, on average those watching the game spend 60 per person in food and merchandize. The Super Bowl is an economic bonanza.

Continue reading at  The Economics of the Super Bowl: On ‘The Woodstock for the 1%’ | Urban Cusp.

Kobe Bryant: Where Amazing Happens – Entertainment & Culture – EBONY

Amazing Happens

Doubters Beware- Bryant Isn’t Going Anywhere

By David Leonard Writer

The Kobe haters have been out with full vengeance as of recent. Hyperventilating about the number of shots he is taking, his unwillingness to defer to Andrew Bynum, his debilitating body, and his off-the-court problems, critics have spent early parts of the season predicting Bryant’s forthcoming demise. Following an opening day loss to the Chicago Bulls, Alex Kay, in “Kobe Bryant: Failure to Close vs. Bulls Proves Black Mamba Has Lost a Step” describes KB24 as “a superstar at the end of his prime ready to fade into the twilight.” Dave Zirin has similarly wrote his basketball obituary, noting how “old and exposed he looked during the 2011 playoffs”. Dave McMenamin voiced similar skepticism about his status as an elite player, reiterating Charles Barkley proclamation that “Father Time is undefeated.”

The criticism of Kobe hasn’t focused simply on his being “over-the-hill;” instead his critics of recycled longstanding narratives about his arrogance and ego combined with his age to doubt Kobe’s future success. In “Shoot first, Ask Kobe,” Rick Reilly offers this argument, highlighting the danger of Kobe’s “me/shoot-first attitude” and a declining skill set: “Bryant believes in shot selection. He selects them all. Unfortunately, he’s making fewer of them.”

In “Person of Interest: Kobe Bryant,” Jay Caspian Kang furthers the assault on Kobe, recycling tired arguments of years past. Like so many, Kang fixates on the number of shots and “bad shots,” calling him a “one man side show.” Worse yet, he seems to link Bryant’s selfishness to the absence of his benevolent white father: Phil Jackson. Yet again, Kobe’s greatness and the beauty of his game are called into question.

Through 15 games of the season, Kobe (and the Lakers) has answered these critics. With a record of 10-5 (exceeding expectations of most of the prognosticators), Kobe’s start has been spectacular. Playing with a wrist injury, in a new system and with several new teammates, all without adequate time for training camp, practice, and treatment, Kobe Bean Bryant has responded to his critics with greatness. Following a 48-point output against the Suns, Bryant told reporters: “Not bad for the seventh best player in the league.”

His 48-point game, while his best during the early campaign, has been the norm thus far: he has surpassed the 30 point plateau three times and the 40 point plateau an astonishing four times. Add to this, he is averaging almost 6 assists and rebounds per game. Leading the league in scoring at 30.8 points per game (shooting 46%), fans have seen his greatness in the box score. But unless you watch Kobe each and every night, it is hard to appreciate the beauty of his game.

Yet, his success, the beauty of game, isn’t central to the narrative we are getting now nor has that been the predominant narrative throughout his illustrious career.

Continue reading @ Kobe Bryant: Where Amazing Happens – Entertainment & Culture – EBONY.

The Layup Line » Nothing to Celebrate: Chris Paul and the NBA Imagination

Nothing to Celebrate: Chris Paul and the NBA Imagination

David J. Leonard

December 16, 2011

I am a Lakers fan so any and all of my criticism should be seen through that window. While Lakers’ haters have rejoiced over the draconian decisions from the league, it’s worth taking a moment to contemplate what exactly they’re celebrating.

For example, Dave Zirin is a brilliant commentator, with an amazing ability to both highlight the political dimensions of sport and use it as a way to elucidate the larger social issues of the day. In his essay, “Sorry, Lakers: Chris Paul and the Clippers Now OCCUPY Los Angeles,” Zirin doesn’t just argue that a sea change is underway in Los Angeles. He also connects the trade to a larger social upheaval inside and outside of the sports world. “These aren’t two NBA teams. They are the two Americas. But in a 2011 where we’ve seen global revolutions from the Middle East to the Mid-West overturn accepted truths in thought and deed, it’s hard to think of a more appropriate way for the SportsWorld to end its year,” writes Zirin.

Zirin then makes his zeitgeist-tapping analogy more plain:

The Lakers have always been the ultimate team of the 1 percent. The Clippers are the also-rans, the afterthoughts, bottom-dwelling 99 percenters of the first order. One trade, and this sacrosanct truth has been turned on its head. To see an exhilarating symbol of the change 2011 has brought and 2012 will bring, you can do worse than remembering the names Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the soon-to-be almighty Clippers.”

David Stern’s decision to reward David Stern with a transcendent player such as Paul given his given his history of racial discrimination is jarring enough. After all we can not forget that journalist Bomani Jones once described Sterling in the following way: “That same man, who gives black men tens of millions of dollars every year, refuses to take a few thousand a month from folks who would like to crash in one of his buildings for a while? … . Sterling may have been a joke, but nothing about this is funny. In fact, it’s frightening and disturbing that classic racism like this might still be in play.” Read in this context, Zirin’s position the Clippers as the 99% represents a troubling reimagination of the 99%. Can this really be the face, symbolic or real, of the 99%?

Yet, beyond defining the 99% as those who are not winning, what concerns me here is the failure to see how the Clippers won (and David Stern, Dan Gilbert, Michael Jordan, Nike and a host of other global corporations won) through the exertion of power and the adjustment of rules to fit the agendas, needs, and financial goals of these ultimate winners. In fact, this entire Paul imbroglio is indicative of current economic policy, where rule -makers adjust games for their own benefit. Zirin’s assessment would have one believe that the Lakers were Lehman, and the Clippers Goldman Sachs, one got bailed out, the other didn’t. But does anyone really believe in the possibility of an NBA landscape in which the Lakers’ aren’t somehow rendered as Goldman Sachs?

This Chris Paul debacle was the first clear sign that, post-lockout, the league’s agenda is to restrict player movement and contain player salaries while maximizing profits. This has been done under the guise of “achieving parity” but just like the “free market” the NBA is supposed to operate in, these are all illusions. The needs of public consumers – in this case, sports fans – clearly are not determining the marketplace. The oligarchs do. Just as Lehman Brothers was allowed to fail while other banks were bailed out, the NBA made a decision to empower the Clippers at the expense of the Lakers, Rockets and others because of the larger effort to make the league more about teams and rivalries rather than stars. In reimagining the NBA apart from stars, the NBA is attempting to rebrand itself thereby limiting the power and financial demands of the players themselves. Josh Martin describes the situation as nothing to celebrate, especially since it’s illustrative of the unjust consequences of power:

Hate David Stern for going Hank Paulson on his league’s marquee franchise, thereby setting a horrendous precedent that he might just do it again and bringing the business of player movement to a screeching halt as a result. . . .

Hate the owners who wanted (and still want) a hard cap AND salary rollbacks AND to prevent superstars from working where they want to, even after putting in years of service in smaller markets.

Hate Gilbert and Sarver and the Maloofs and all those other egomaniacs for screwing up YOUR favorite teams and then blaming their own missteps and bad contracts on their well-payed [sic] employees.

In other words, don’t hate The Player; hate The Game, the very same game that YOUR owners pushed for and that will ultimately cost YOUR teams in their pursuit of big-name free agents and NBA championships.

Clippers fans are right to celebrate CP3’s arrival in Los Angeles, but I’m not sure anyone else has cause for joy. Trading Chris Paul is a testament to the continued oligarchy of the NBA; it is not a triumph of the 99%. Efforts to push Chris Paul to one team over another, the meddling and public statements of owners, are just the beginning of a systemic reconfiguring of the NBA. Is that really worth celebrating?

via The Layup Line » Nothing to Celebrate: Chris Paul and the NBA Imagination.

Emancipate the NBA: Struggling for Justice in the NBA (New piece from @NewBlackMan)

Emancipate the NBA: Struggling for Justice in the NBA
by David J. Leonard | NewBlackMan


I have been trying to write this column for several days.  I have thought and thought, and spent several hours writing, resulting in nothing.  I am just too angry.  My anger about the NBA LOCKOUT has nothing to do with the players.  I am actually proud of their courage and their refusal to kowtow in the face of pressure to accept an unfair proposal.  I am happy they told David Stern to file his ultimatum under “U” for unacceptable.  In fact, when I heard the news on Monday that the players indeed rejected the proposal, I found myself giving a little fist pump.  The prospect of a lost NBA season is disheartening at one level, yet I am encouraged by their refusal to accept an unjust economic arrangement.

Despite a public narrative that continually focuses on money as the only issue of contention, the LOCKOUT isn’t simply about how to split NBA pie.  It isn’t about greedy, out-of-touch players that already make millions for playing a game (this idea is so disrespectful to not only their talents but their hard work and dedication).

Players have already given up billions of dollars when they apparently agreed to a 50/50 split (or thereabouts).   Yet that wasn’t enough for the owners.  Their proposal would dramatically restrict player movement, ostensibly ending much of free agency.  The LOCKOUT in many ways is an effort to roll back free agency, to overturn the legacies of Curt Flood and to create a system where owners don’t have to compete for the services of all players (Ric Bucher made this point eloquently).

The proposed structural changes would dramatically alter the landscape of the NBA, severely limiting the options and free agency potential of NBA players.  In 2010-2011, where the players received 57% of basketball related income, the salary cap was $58.044 million; that year teams paid a tax at $70.307 million.  If the owners have their way, these numbers would fall to $50,915,789 for the cap and $61,672,807 for the luxury tax.  So what does this mean?  It means, that only 10 teams would be under the salary cap (these calculations include potential rookie salaries).  It means that 14 teams would be paying a luxury tax, which would be higher in the new system.  It means that the many teams that have empty roster spots would have little or no money to spend on free agents.  Faced with a luxury tax and only able to use a reduced exception that allows teams to exceed the salary cap, the new system is an assault on free agency and “free-market capitalism.”  It allows teams to ostensibly eliminate player leverage in getting the most possible money.

Imagine if this system existed in other industries.  Imagine if every company in your respective field was restricted in how much money they could spend on salaries.  Imagine if these companies were taxed if they spent over a certain threshold.  How would it impact your ability to garner employment?  How would it impact your ability to move from one company to the next?  How would it impact your ability to increase your salary because two competitors were forced to compete for your services?  What the owners and David Stern are trying to do, through the reduction of the BRI, through the changes in the mid-level of exception, and the tax structure is to limit the power and choice of the players.  It will invariably depress wages, bolster profits for owners, kill the NBA’s middle-class, and otherwise limit player power.

The owners’ proposal will likely HURT many teams and the quality of their basketball.  Look at the Boston Celtics: they have 7 players under contract for the 2011-2012 year, meaning they would need 5 more players just to get the 12-person minimum (teams often carry 15 players).  Based on estimates of a 50/50 BRI split, the Celtics would be roughly $15 million dollars over the cap, meaning that in order to fill out their roster they would be limited to minimum veteran salaries and one exception (unless they sign players previously under contract in 2010-2011).  They would be forced to pay a tax for every dollar they spend.  How do you think that will impact player movement?  How will it impact jobs?  What team will be willing and able to sign players beyond 12-man roster?  As much as it pains me to say this (as someone born and raised in Los Angeles), the proposal would be horrid for a team like the Celtics.

The NBA LOCKOUT is not about fans, despite claims that it is about helping the small-market teams and their fans.  As I have said before, I don’t buy the parity argument.  I buy it even less as it imagines the LOCKOUT as a struggle to protect small market teams from future player exodus. Focusing on LeBron James, Deron Williams, and Carmelo Anthony, all of whom left their teams for “greener” pastures in big markets, this argument focuses on the lack of fairness to the fans in these respective cities.  They cite the potential exits of Chris Paul and Dwight Howard as further evidence that the NBA needs structural change.  I am angered that anyone accepts this seriously flawed argument.  Whether thinking about the success of the Mavs or Spurs, or the failures of the Clippers, Knicks and the Warriors, market size does not guarantee success or failure.  It isn’t about the fans or fixing a broken system, but enhancing owner profits and further creating a league where players are     treated as “the help.”  It is about owners asserting their power to control the players.

Continue reading @NewBlackMan