While there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when it began, the reaction of NBA fans to the small ad patch on the shoulder of uniforms has been mostly a shrug. It didn’t change anything.
Teams and advertisers have loved it, however. Which means it’s here to stay. Not yet officially, but just wait.
Terry Lefton and John Lombardo at the Sports Business Journal have the details.
As the league continues to search for new revenue, the patch program has delivered, generating more than $150 million. And 20 of the 29 team patch sponsors, including Harley-Davidson and Rakuten, are doing business with NBA teams for the first time…
Team, league and brand executives all feel the program has been an overwhelming success, with exposure numbers easily exceeding projections. Clubs expect new deals and renewals will be for more money and longer terms. One top team executive predicts a 20 percent to 30 percent price increase for Patch 2.0.
The NBA has not made public how much companies are paying per year for the jersey patches, but the rumored low end is north of $3 million annually and SBJ says the high end could be up around $20 million. The patches have value to advertisers because it’s estimated they get their logo exposed on broadcasts for 10-15 minutes every game. Picture LeBron James or James Harden stepping up to the line to take a free throw, the close up on them shows the WISH logo on the Laker jersey or the ROCKiT logo on the Rockets’ jersey. That is advertising gold.
What the league is not going to do is expand the size of the ad patch, the NBA isn’t interested in a NASCAR or Premiere League look. What they do want is to maximize the money they can get from the existing system. That means getting the logos on replica jersey sales (Nike, less thrilled about that, although their swoosh is on every jersey on the opposite corner).
All but one NBA team (Oklahoma City) has an ad patch on their jersey now.
Celtics rookie Grant Williams on 3-pointers in his first 20 games: 0-for-25.
Nobody else has ever started a season that cold.
Of everyone else to attempt at least 25 3-pointers in their first 20 games, nobody made fewer than two. Of everyone else to miss all their 3-pointers in their first 20 games, nobody attempted more than 17.
Finally, Williams made a 3-pointer in Boston’s win over the Cavaliers yesterday.
Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, via NBC Sports Boston:
We were calling him Ben Simmons for the longest. But he knocked one down, and knocked them down, too. So, shoutout to both of those guys.
Yes, 76ers guard Ben Simmons barely shoots, let alone makes, 3-pointers. But it seems as if Brown realized mid-answer he shouldn’t provide bulletin-board material to a rival.
Simmons has gotten called a coward numerous times by people in Boston due to his refusal to shoot 3s. Becoming the butt of the joke with fellow NBA players? That’s something else entirely.
We’ll see how Simmons responds, but many around him – including Philadelphia coach Brett Brown – have been urging him to hoist more 3s. It’s hard to see this inspiring Simmons to actually change his game.
In 2017, Paul George told the Pacers he planned to leave in free agency the following year. It wasn’t a trade request, but George knew his message would likely prompt Indiana to deal him. He wanted out.
George said he preferred the Spurs. (Or was it the Lakers?) The Pacers dealt him to the Thunder.
Now with the Clippers, George returned to Indiana and got booed.
George, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:
“You know, someday I’ll do a tell-all and tell the leading events of how I left Indiana,” George said. “And I promise you, I’m not the one to boo.”
“… I’m not gonna share the teaser,” George later added. “… I like being the villain. I’m here two nights out of the year. The people they should boo is here a lot longer than I am.”
Maybe George felt he got wronged. Maybe George actually got wronged.
But fans generally side with their favorite team over a star player who chose to leave.
It’s hard to imagine a set of circumstances where Pacers fans would boo someone other than George for his exit. My hunch: His grievances are significant to him but wouldn’t persuade Indiana fans. Still, I’m at least curious about his full story.
LeBron James became a villain by leaving the Cavaliers for the Heat on The Decision in 2010. He arrived in Miami promising “not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven” championships.
By the end of his first season with the Heat, he was beaten down. The Mavericks topped Miami in the NBA Finals, winning the last three games of the series. While Miami blew its 2-1 lead, LeBron averaged 15.3 points and 4.7 turnovers per game. He shot 2-for-12 on 3-pointers and 4-for-10 on free throws.
After Game 6, he callously mocked his critics:
“All the people that were rooting for me to fail… at the end of the day, tomorrow they have to wake up and have the same life that (they had) before they woke up today,” James said. “They got the same personal problems they had today. And I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things I want to do.”
LeBron emerged from his funk and led the Heat to consecutive titles. He returned to Cleveland and won another title there. He’s now with the Lakers leading another championship pursuit.
He plays well. He plays smartly. He plays with joy. He often rises to the biggest occasions.
LeBron probably had to go through a setback like the 2011 Finals to sharpen his mental edge. But it’s incredible how far he has come from the defeated player who left that series against Dallas.
The Athletic – quoting at least three unnamed players – reported the Cavaliers are rebelling against John Beilein’s collegiate coaching style.
Cleveland big Tristan Thompson, via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com:
“Y’all better find them names ‘cause I’ll pull up on ‘em right now,” Thompson said. “You can’t do that s—.
“At the end of the day if you’re going to build a culture and a family, you can’t have that Chatty Patty s— going on. That s— is whack to me. Everyone’s got to look in the mirror, there’s only so much coach can do and there’s only so much we can do. Do we have the best roster in the NBA? No. But we’re going to go out there and compete every night. Guys got to look in the mirror. So I hope whoever reported that was just bulls——g and blamed it on a player.”
That’s quite the rhetoric from Thompson. I wonder whether he has the same energy in the locker room.
Thompson confronting his teammates would certainly raise the stakes. And make no mistake: His teammates are among the unnamed sources. The report not only specifically cited players, it said “Veterans and younger players, from all corners of the roster” are having issues with Beilein.
Even if he supports his coach, that’s a lot for Thompson to take on.
But if he’s looking for a place to start, I have a guess.