(hard to say for sure what Carmelo Anthony is thinking in this photograph, but I’ll take a wild guess it doesn’t have anything to do with TV On The Radio)
Not to distract too heavily from events taking place of late on Wall Street, but the Nation’s Dave Zirin considers the ongoing professional hoops lockout and argues, “do you really want to talk about corporate greed piledriving the interests of ‘the other 99 percent’? Look no further than the NBA.”
They haven’t only locked out the players union but thousands of low-wage workers—the people cleaning the arenas, parking the cars and selling the overpriced flat, foamy swill the league calls beer. They’ve also locked out secretaries and scouts, managers and mascots. Somewhere in Phoenix there’s a guy in a gorilla suit with a sign that reads, “Will dunk for food.”
It’s Wall Street’s version of the high pick-and-roll, their go-to play: magically turning our tax dollars into their profits. Look at the billions that have gone to NBA arenas while public workers are laid off and the infrastructure of our cities rot. As economist David Berri has noted, $2 billion has gone into building eight new facilities. Of that amount, 84 percent, $1.75 billion, has come out of our pockets. That number also doesn’t include the $2 billion in tax dollars being funneled into the Atlantic Yards Project for the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets. David Stern’s claim that twenty-three of thirty owners are “losing money” on the NBA, while leaving public subsidies out of his math, only demonstrates his ugly contempt for us 99 percenters.
Is it the arrogance of the privileged class that makes your blood boil? Listen to Ted Leonsis, the owner of the NBA’s Washington Wizards. In September, Leonsis said, “Economic Success has somehow become the new boogie man; some in the Democratic party are now casting about for enemies and business leaders and anyone who has achieved success in terms of rank or fiscal success is being cast as a bad guy in a black hat. This is counter to the American Dream and is really turning off so many people that love America and basically carry our country on their back by paying taxes and by employing people.” So we pay for their stadiums, we buy their sweatshop-stitched crap, we work for poverty wages at the park and they’re carrying us on their back? Please kiss me where the good Lord split me.
On the matter of “sweatshop-stitched crap”, with impeccable timing, New Era sent out a bulk e-mail this morning touting the launch of their new “NBA/ESPN Roadsign 2 5950” cap, presumably because they realize if you wanna shell out $39 for a Miami Heat hat, it’s because you’re a huge fan of Micky Arison’s candid Twitter account.