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Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Weird Wild World of Pro Sports

Try as I might, I cannot fully hate pro sports, even though deep down, I really want to. As a business, it's mostly a scam. But as a cultural institution, I think pro sports are not only desirable but also kind of necessary.

But this is absurd. The headline says it all:
Andrew Wiggins would’ve been the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. Instead he’s working for free while NBA teams lose on purpose to get him.
But I think this unpacks it a bit better:
His draft position cannot improve, nor can his negotiating power, since the NBA’s rookie salary structure mandates the terms of his contract. Some will argue that a year of exposure at Kansas will increase his star power, but hop on over to the KU online store and you can already buy an official NCAA-licensed Andrew Wiggins replica jersey for $55; his name’s not on the back and he won’t see a cent from the sales, but his star power is doing just fine. Adidas is reportedly preparing a $100 million-plus endorsement contract for him, and Nike is ready to match it—but not quite yet, not until he declares himself a pro.

In the meantime, we’ll attentively track the “riggin’ for Wiggins” derby and smirk knowingly every time some guy in an expensive suit with a team logo behind him holds forth on “rebuilding” and “the long term.” And all the while we’ll do our best to ignore the fact that an 18-year-old kid has one billion-dollar business dining off his unpaid labor while another billion-dollar business deliberately sabotages its product on his (and our) behalf.
Wouldn't it be nice if a sportsfan doesn't have to do so much "ignoring of the facts?" I think so.

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