The Josh Childress Effect No One Is Mentioning

*sigh*    "... f@#!" (image taken from askmen.com)

(disheartedly): *sigh* "... f@#!" (image taken from askmen.com)

Do you think David Stern has trouble sleeping at night? I mean beyond the normal sleep apnea that most adults in their late sixties feel? Because I think he does.

I would put Euros on it, in fact.

For all the media massaging that David Stern does, no amount of time in his positive spin machine can make the NBA smell like roses lately.

Tim Donaghy? There’s one scandal that just won’t go away, to the point where former high school classmates of his are now going to jail. League legitimacy remains in question and the referees, ever under scrutiny and used as scapegoats for Stern and the league’s front office, are surely gaining nothing from the negative media attention.

What about player maturity? Shawne Williams, anyone? Derrick Rose (a little close to home for all those Jay Williams fans out there)? Still issues in that department apparently.

But guess what is irking the Commish the most, much more than referee shadiness or young rich player stupidity?

Josh Childress.

Plenty of people have been talking about how Childress’s move opens the flood gates for NBA players to head over to Europe now, chasing the almighty Euro and living the life of Gods where they are beloved by fans and females in unprecedented amounts. Sounds a little like playing here in the US during normal financial times to me though (this recession can’t last forever now can it?), and I don’t really see that as the major issue, nor does Stern apparently:

NBA commissioner David Stern has consistently said he is comfortable with the notion that there are some players who can make more money in Europe and would prefer to play there, saying the majority of the world’s best basketball players still seek the allure of playing in the world’s most prestigious league. (from ESPN.com’s Chris Sheridan–go here for full story)

What I believe to be the real issue, what I believe is eating away at Stern, is the manner in which this happened.

David Stern has been a mostly successful commissioner because he controls the league in every manner. His control is well planned and it is total.

The problem isn’t Josh Childress going to play for Greek club Olympiacos, it’s that Stern didn’t have a hand in it.

For years now, stemming back all the way to the world wide media storm that the Original Dream Team stirred at the ’92 Olympics, Stern has been working on a plan to globalize the NBA. And every year, it seems that he is a step closer to accomplishing his plan.

What had been the main hold up, according to Stern, was the “absence of NBA-sized buildings,” (from an article posted on February 13, 2008 by SI.com’s Ian Thomsen) that is, buildings that would seat enough people to offer a revenue stream equal to those here in North America.

Yet, in that same article, Thomsen points to the fact that the arena situation was improving:

But the landscape has changed with the emergence of NBA-styled arenas in Europe. The 02 Arena in London and the soon-to-be-opened 02 Arena in Berlin (both named after a mobile phone sponsor in Europe) are NBA-ready venues outfitted with the necessary suites and amenities. In addition, Rome has broken ground on a new arena, and Real Madrid is expected to begin construction soon on a new building in Spain. Those four cities would be among the leading candidates to receive NBA franchises in the next decade, if Stern pursues his vision. But the expansion is predicated on more arenas being built in Europe in coming years.

One would then think that Stern had the expansion plan just where he wanted, right? Yet Thomsen makes another interesting point (forgive me for the large excerpts, there is plenty more in the article I haven’t/won’t touch on, so go read it):

There is a sense that the clock is ticking down on the league’s long-term plan to grow basketball in Western Europe. With NBA-ready buildings sprouting up, the source suggested that Stern feels the need to move before a competing entity seizes the opportunity of moving into those arenas and starting up a new European league from scratch.

The quote notices Stern’s control issues, more specifically his worry of losing that control by being beaten to the punch by an upstart entity.

But, everyone overlooked the clubs that already existed.

With basketball still growing in Western Europe, it seems that Stern’s plan was to act as big brother. He would install his teams and his brand, thereby owning the development of successful basketball there. The teams already in place would most likely have become feeders for the NBA Europe teams, a built in minor league, the little brothers.

No one would have suspected that the little brother would make the first move, though.

By signing Josh Childress, Olympiacos has now shown David Stern and the NBA that European clubs are capable of attracting NBA level talent. Shouldn’t it only be a matter of time before they realize their potential to make NBA level dollars as well, especially with the new arenas in place?

We’ve seen it here in the States with David Beckham (yes, I realize the difference between a David Beckham and a Josh Childress, shut up)–talent will bring fans to the stadium.

The European clubs now realize that they don’t need David Stern to provide that talent.

And I bet David Stern is tossing and turning over it.

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6 Responses to “The Josh Childress Effect No One Is Mentioning”

  1. Jack Wilson Says:

    Josh Childress is a digrace to all Americans. Just like any American that loves Europe more than America. If you love other places so much then get the hell out!!! We want true Americans living in America. Not guys that just want the glory and the money. The NBA should ban Josh Childress from ever coming back.Anybody, that supports Josh Childress is un-American. Any basketball player that follows Josh Childress to Europe is un-American. Anybody that was born in America and actually chooses to go play for another country (Chris Kaman) is un-American. You know why Americans have been losing in the olympics its because we have been kind enough to let Europeans and other foreigners into the NBA. And those spies learn from us take our American money and then go home and teach their own country how to beat us (Yao Ming). I would like to see a ban of foreign players in the NBA.

  2. Collin Says:

    I will venture to guess that you are not a Hemingway, Pound, or Fitzgerald fan then?

    On the real, I have no issue with Childress crossing the pond. The Hawks inability to act like a professional franchise combined with the L’s strict collective bargaining agreement forced Childress’s hand a little (as well as the fact that he’ll make in excess of $20 million for his three years–after taxes!).

    And I would be fine with there being a global basketball league one day, or at least a global tournament at the end of various leagues’ seasons. I just don’t want it to be a case where there are a few leagues with excellent talent and no way to determine which team is the best. But, as long as the basketball is good, I will watch it.

  3. P. Says:

    hello,i’m an olympiacos greek fan and i have one question..
    is it really such a big issue in U.S all this Childress move or it’s just a greek-sportnews hype?ok,he’s the first good and young player who leaves nba but was it so unexpected there?

  4. Collin Says:

    I actually think it was unexpected. But there is a bigger issue. America has a God Complex, if you will, and it certainly trickles down into sports.

    The NBA is, and has been, the pinnacle of professional basketball. The NBA imports talent. 99% of players aspire to play in the League, to be treated as heroes/celebs, to compete against the best talent in the world.

    Josh Childress set a precedent. It’s not that he’s great–he’s a decent player who would always have fit a team specific role. It’s just that he found an option to play overseas, and he deemed it more appealing than the NBA. With the rise of the Euro/fall of the dollar/the collective bargaining agreement and obvious allure of the gorgeous Greek setting and lifestyle, playing abroad trumped playing in the NBA.

    His move was the first, although minor, chink in the NBA’s armor where its worldwide league superiority is concerned. It’s a reminder of fallibility, a reminder that even Rome fell.

  5. P. Says:

    hmm,i don’t thing basketball only needs talent in order to fascinate,but i’m a european,what can you say 🙂
    anyway this god Complex you reffer to,is what i keep.i’m kinda young,23, and day by day i try to understand your ways of thought there.it’s a bit dissapointing though and obviously not only because it affects basketball
    i really like your blog..

  6. Collin Says:

    Thanks. I appreciate the reading and commenting.

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