"And now, introducing the starting lineup for your Quicken Loan Cavaliers!"
I don't know about you but I can't wait to hear that line coming from the PA announcer at the Q. While we might not be at that point yet, we sure seem to be headed that way thanks to the latest ruling from NBA commissioner David Stern.
The NBA Board of Governors approved the use of advertising patches on jerseys beginning in the 2013-14 season. A final vote on the issue will come in September.
I have long been aware of the heavy impact commercialism has on sports. I'm used to going to stadiums named after corporations. In late December I'll tune in to watch the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl. But I always thought there was a line. I always thought certain things would be off limits and uniforms would be one of those things. The uniforms just seemed like they would be too important. In the case of teams like the Lakers, Celtics or Bulls, too historic.
Not only has Stern and the NBA crossed that line, they've strapped on a jetpack and rocketed over it.
Even Bud Selig, the Major League Baseball commissioner who has generally been regarded as the man who has done the most to spit on the history and tradition of his sport, has said it's a line he wouldn't cross. Selig has said the uniforms are too special.
He gets it. Why can't Stern?
As ugly as the new Cavaliers' uniforms are, I proudly cheer on the wine and gold. I'd much rather watch a game and see those hideous uniforms out there instead of five billboards running up and down the court.
With all due respect to all NASCAR fans out there, David Stern, don't NASCAR-ize our uniforms. At least they do it to pay for their cars and heavy expenses. What's your excuse? Is all the money you get from the fans for tickets, parking, merchandise and $8-beer not enough?
I know the argument from the other side is "it's just a small two-inch patch." But don't you think that once they get the money from this small patch, they'll start to think how much more they can get from bigger patches? It's a slippery slope that instead of the Thunder and the Heat, we could end up seeing Pepsi play Alltel in the NBA Finals.
Stern and the NBA cites European soccer league's as the model they used to determine revenue projections and impact.
Has anybody seen one of their jerseys? Google "Manchester United jerseys" and take a look. They have the team's corporate sponsor splashed across the chest with the team logo so small on the shoulder it would seem easier to find Waldo than to notice the team's logo.
The worst part of the whole deal is that if we the fans want to buy a jersey of our favorite team and player, we have to buy one with the advertising patch on it.
For Cavs fans, if you want to buy a Kyrie Irving or Dion Waiters jersey, get it this year because soon, every jersey you buy will have some sort of ridiculous advertising patch included on it.
As silly as it sounds, jerseys are important. They mean something. A jersey is something that allows us, the fan, to connect with our team. Not connect with McDonald's. We wear our jerseys proudly in support of our team and our players. We don't wear a jersey to try and sell more McNuggets.
The official vote on this will come in September and Stern and company have said it is "likely" to pass. However, just about every poll on various media outlets including the NBA's own website, have shown the fans are overwhelmingly against this. The range is usually 75-85 percent against putting ads on jerseys.
So the ball's in your court now, David Stern. Are you going to listen to your fans, the ones who truly support your product and reverse course in a show of honor and loyalty? Or are you going to do what you want and shove this down our throats in a show of greed?
Your fans are speaking to you, David Stern. Are you going to preserve tradition and history? Or are you going to sell it out?