In the world of the NBA today, marketing for ticket sales seems to solely be based on what stars will be playing that day. Whether you have a star player on your team, or if you’re playing against one of the NBA’s elite, studies show that prices are at the highest when there’s a star in town.
Well recently, and I put this disclaimer out there, that I am no “Lebron James lover”, Lebron James and his teammates are being rested by their coach during back to back games. The Cleveland Cavaliers are currently in first place in the Eastern Conference, and have a plethora of NBA “stars” on their team. When Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love come to your city, tickets sell out.
Well, the owners and commissioner Adam Silver, now have an issue with star players resting during games. However, it has everything to do with THEIR money, and nothing to do with an actual concern that players who play 82 regular season games, plus a good 16 more in the playoffs, get tired. When the “slave” aka the black stars of the NBA, don’t show up to work, the ratings plummet.
Ratings = money. Period.
A month ago, the Golden State Warriors decided to sit Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant for a back to back series. That was a small shock wave, that the NBA owners felt, seeing that Curry, Thompson and Durant are also “seat filling” stars. The issues Adam Silver has stated, paint a picture that while you play many home games, a lot of the teams not in your conference, only get to see you play in their city once.
Hence, lets take a look at the famous head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Greg Popovich. for years, and literally I mean years, since the early 2000s, Coach Pop has had a history of resting his starters down the final stretch of the season. Nobody blinked an eye, except for maybe fantasy basketball enthusiast. If you know anything about the Spurs, then you can automatically see my issue. The Spurs resting players was never an issue because outside of a very quiet “star” in Tim Duncan, the Spurs have never been a star ticket selling team.
If you ask me, The Atlanta Hawks could rest Dwight Howard for the remainder of the season, and no one in the NBA would bat an eye. Now if MVP candidates Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, or James Harden of the Houston Rockets, were to take a rest (even though both have spoken out and said they won’t be resting), the public uproar would be outrageous.
My view is this, as a fan of the Atlanta Hawks, when the Cavs come to town, it’s a big deal because Kyrie Irving is one of my favorite NBA players, so naturally I want to see him play. But if he was to rest during that game, I would be upset and I would feel like my money is wasted. However, being a real human being, I can understand the rest factor. This isn’t 2K, this is real life, and sometimes fatigue really does play a factor.
What we do know is this, Adam Silver has sent a letter to the owners reprimanding them for resting players, with threats of rule changes in the off season. Conversely, James made a statement saying “You can stop the coaches from resting players”.
So, who will win this twisted battle?