The Jersey Advertisement Meltdown

Last April, the NBA owners voted in favor of allowing teams to sell advertising space on their uniforms starting in the 2017-18 season.

Any advertisement space on the jerseys would be small, and would only be on the upper left shoulder of the uniform.

Fans grumbled at the announcement for the following months, but it wasn’t until yesterday’s announcement that the Boston Celtics had sold ad space on their uniform to GE that the world seemed to go up in flames.

Yep, that’s right. The Celtics, one of the most storied franchises in all of American sports history, were one of the first teams to get in on the new initiative.

Here’s a look at the new GE-branded uniforms:

Not surprisingly, the internet was less than pleased. Here’s some Twitter reactions that I enjoyed:

I mean, Dylan has a point.

But seriously, this reaction is very predictable. Nobody was going to go, “Ya know, I really love that advertisement on my team’s jersey.” That goes double when it’s one of the most iconic and historically untouched uniforms in basketball.

But right there lies the kicker: it’s not for you, the fan. It’s a cash grab and it’s an easy and smart one. While we don’t know the exact details of the GE deal, reports are that it is a very healthy one. People so often mistake the NBA for something it isn’t; it’s a money-making machine. Deals like this keep that machine going.

I don’t like the patch. I don’t hate it and won’t be throwing a tantrum because of it’s presence, but I just don’t like it’s incorporation on the jersey. I think it’s is an eyesore on a uniform which carries a copious history behind it. However, I’ll move past it, like we are so accustomed to doing.

NBA fans will learn to accept this future because, at the end of the day, they should care about the product on the court and not what lies on the player’s shoulders. In a year or two, every team will don their new adverts (except the Lakers, but I’ll get to that in a second).

Here’s the three teams who already have their advertisement deals in place:

Okay, now lets talk about the Lakers. LA’s primary team was the only one out of the 30 in the Association to vote against advertisement motion. That’s pretty awesome. What would be even better is if they never give in. Sure, the sanctity of the Celtic’s jersey may be gone, but what if the Lakers flat out refuse to give in. I’m all for it.

Also, let’s not pretend that this is the first time that high-profile advertisement has seeped into an NBA arena. Just go to an NBA game and it’s like a 20,000 seat Super-Bowl commercial. Even arena names (The Smoothie King Center, Quicken Loans Arena) are just a gigantic ad. And if you think Celtic’s fans are mad now, it doesn’t even touch when the Boston Garden was renamed to the TD Garden back in 2009. It was pandemonium.

My point may be long-winded, but it will prove true. This deal will be just a small blip in NBA history. Right now, it’s easy to complain about “Greed, corruption, business oriented owners,” and all that jazz, but it will blow over.

I’ll end with a quick, somewhat comically morbid story. Red Auerbach, the legendary Celtics coach responsible for nine championships, was vehemently opposed to the idea of cheerleaders in the sport. In 2004, he famously told the Boston Globe that, “they’re just waiting for me to die so they can get cheerleaders.” In 2006, Auerbach passed away at the age of 89; the Celtics introduced their new cheerleading squad that same year.

The point? Oh the times are always a changin’.

Paint It, Black: Wizards-Celtics

A big complaint from the casual NBA fan is that in an 82-game regular season, the individual game doesn’t mean THAT much. While I disagree with that sentiment, I can understand why people feel that way.

So what’s the best way to make people care about an ordinary regular season game in the middle of January? Lets look at the Wizards-Celtics matchup as a perfect (and my new favorite) example of making the regular season matter.

For those who don’t follow basketball closely – the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics are not rivals. They are two Eastern Conference teams who meet several times over the course of the season, but there isn’t a deep-rooted rivalry based on past playoff series or geographic location.

So why then was last night’s game between them so important to both teams? It’s simple: the Wizards manufactured the game into a rivalry.

Let’s start from the beginning. The two sides met on Nov. 9 of this season, and with a little over five minutes left in a Wizard’s blowout win, this happened:

Say what you want about the play, but it triggered both sides to come to bat for their teammates. Whether Wall had malicious intent or not (he looked like a cornerback closing in on his receiver up the middle), he still ended up inciting a strong reaction out of a hot-headed Marcus Smart.

Then this happened on Jan. 11 after a 117-108 Celtics win over Washington.

Yep. That’s John Wall once again getting into with a Celtics player, this time Jae Crowder, and doing just enough to get him to jump.

If you’re looking for a theme it’s that these teams don’t like each other.

Fast forward to last night when the Wizards and the Celtics met once again. Several hours before tip-off, news started to circulate that the Wizards players would be wearing “All-Black everything” to the game. Why?

They wanted to stage a “funeral” for the Celtics and they knew the media would eat it up.

Here’s some of the players arriving to the game, courtesy of CSN’s Chase Hughes.

While some players ended up looking more like they belonged in “The Matrix,” they successfully got their point across.

When Celtics players heard of this stunt, they were less than pleased. Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder both called it “cute,” with Thomas going on to say it seemed odd for them to be behaving this way when it’s not “Game 7” of the playoffs. He’s not necessarily wrong.

At the end of all the commotion, the Wizards topped the Celtics, 123-108.

Now, I think think this whole thing is incredible. Washington took a middle of the season game that probably had very few eyes on it and gave it national attention. And whether Boston fans agree, this is some sort of animosity to this game now. You may even call it a…. rivalry. Is it petty? Sure. But does it add extra meaning to every time these two sides face each other? Absolutely.

The NBA needs more of this. I’m not one for antics and this sort of thing on the court, but off of the court I’m all for it. If you need to play a little bit of dress-up to light a spark, then go right ahead. I’m not advocating for another scrap between these two teams, but it’s nice to know that both sides are going to take these games are seriously as they can.

This is how you make the regular season matter to even the most casual of fans. From me, a Boston Celtics fan, I commend all of the Washington Wizards.

The Snubbing of Kyle Lowry

I wanted to write this two days ago, but I held myself back from the keyboard so I could form some complete thoughts on this subject.

The NBA revealed the starters for the 2017 All-Star game on Thursday and like most people my first thought was, “Where’s Russell Westbrook?”

As much as I admire Westbrook’s accomplishments this season and think he should have been voted a Western Conference starter over Steph Curry, I don’t find it egregious. The decision makes sense to me, especially when Curry’s contribution are adjusted for the talent surrounding him. Do I agree with it? Not really. Do I understand why it happened? Absolutely. When it’s a combination of the media, player, and fan votes, situations like this are bound to happen

The Westbrook argument doesn’t interest me as much because it seems too obvious. A guy that is averaging a triple-double should be starting in the All-Star game. End of story.

The decision that I do find worth arguing against, though, is that of Kyle Lowry not being named a starting guard in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Lowry’s teammate DeMar DeRozan were named the starters, which to a casual viewer of the NBA this season seems like a smart move.

Instead of arguing against DeRozan or Irving, I just want to say this: Kyle Lowry is the best guard in the East, which means I think he should have gotten in over either of these players.

Lets take a look at Lowry’s stats this season.

The 6-foot-1 guard is averaging 22.3 points, 7.0 assists,  and 4.8 rebounds per game – all career highs. He is also shooting a career-best 47.5-percent from the floor and has an effective field goal percentage of 58.6-percent. Oh yeah, Lowry’s also shooting 43.8-percent from three (a career-high as well).

Lowry is second in the league in ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus (7.34), only behind Chris Paul. For reference, his teammate DeRozan is ranked 114th in the league in RPM (0.40). The Raptors need Lowry on the court. DeRozan is an incredible scorer, but Lowry keeps the Raptors’ wheels turning regardless of who is on the floor with him.

And I said I wouldn’t do this, but if you really want to argue Irving over Lowry, consider this: Lowry has played six more games, has a higher field goal percentage, a higher three-point percentage, while also averaging more steals, assists, rebounds per game than Irving. Irving just edges him out in the scoring department, as he averages 23.7 points per game.

Keep in mind this is all happening for Lowry at the age of 30. He is having career year at an age when several players start to slow down, and lets remember that he was named an All-Star starter the past two years with inferior stats. The guy is hitting his peak in his eleventh year in the league

Now at the end of the day, none of this actually matters. Lowry will be voted in as a reserve and we’ll soon forget about this whole debacle. I think it’s  important to note that this situation speaks volume to the under appreciation fans (and apparently some media) have for a guy like Lowry’s game. The guard does everything for his team and helps them win consistently every year (the Raptors currently sit at second in the Eastern Conference with a 28-15 record).

One thing I won’t argue against, though, is the incredible amount of guard talent there is in the East. We are so lucky and we don’t even appreciate it.

About Me

Hello, my name is Evan Chronis and this is the introduction to my new blog. I am currently a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill majoring in and pursuing a degree in journalism (broadcast sequence).

This blog is something I’ve considered starting for about a year now, but has finally been kickstarted thanks to a new class I am enrolled in this semester titled, “The Branding of Me.” For this class, I will be blogging twice a week, for your enjoyment, about things that I will refer to later in this post.

First, I should offer you, the reader, a quick insight into my life. I am a native of south Charlotte (Weddington, to be exact) and came to UNC in Fall 2014. I came into school intending to pursue journalism in some fashion, and through that I have found a real passion for sports writing/reporting and have been pursuing it since my first semester in Chapel Hill.

Currently, I am a writer/reporter for Inside Carolina, an independent new source covering UNC athletics, where I cover UNC’s football, men’s basketball, and baseball teams. I recently spent the summer of 2016 working as a reporting assistant for Black and Blue Review, a website covering the Carolina Panthers. Other experience includes two years covering UNC athletics for The Daily Tar Heel, writing a column about world soccer for The Sports Quotient, and covering high school athletics for the Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group.

As far as the near future goes, I will be covering the Boston Red Sox this summer as an Associate Reporter for MLB.com.

Now that all of that is out of the way, I can touch on what I hope to accomplish with this blog. So, if you haven’t been able to guess, I’m passionate when it comes to sports. Now that may seem like a very vague, blanket statement, but it’s one-hundred percent true. Sports are something I’ve always connected with and at a base level I believe sports are the best form of entertainment available. I’ve tweeted out multiple times the same thing after I watch a great game, and it’s this: “Sports are the purest form of storytelling.”

Now you can disagree with that statement, but please understand that that’s where I’m coming from.

I spend most of my time during work covering the teams I write about, but rarely offer up my opinions on any subject being covered. I hope to use this blog for some of the latter.

We live in an era where the “hot take” reigns supreme and television programs are centered around them. Everyone is doing their best to get noticed by saying the wildest things that their brain can conjure up, whether they believe it or not. I don’t plan to do that. I have opinions, and I plan to use this blog to share them. They may be random, I can’t predict that, but I can guarantee that they will be my real feelings on a subject. You may disagree with what I write, and I welcome that. And this won’t be all opinion pieces. I may write some days on things I say previously that I wanted to comment on.

I hope I explained my goals well, and if not, prepare for my first “official” post and you’ll get an idea for what I want this to be.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the content.