Writer’s note: This article is satirical in nature, and not completely factual. Though some parts are based on facts, Adam Silver did not write or speak any of the words written below. Again I repeat, this article is supposed to be entertaining and not the actual words of Adam Silver.
Thank you all for joining me today. I have been preparing for this day for quite some time, and I am excited to discuss the state of today’s NBA.
First of all, I would like to congratulate our 2017 NBA Finals Champions, the Golden State Warriors. I think we all can agree, they were one of the most exciting basketball teams to watch in the history of the NBA. As a matter of fact, they may be too exciting and could potentially be a problem for the league moving forward. I will address this matter in a few minutes.
There have been a few hot topics surrounding the NBA, topics that the media have taken and run with. Of course, the media are one of, if not the most important, catalysts that have taken the NBA to the success that it enjoys today. The NBA has never been more watched on a global scale than it is right now.
We have successfully captured the young adult demographic that every organization in the world is targeting. Social media is our most essential avenue to reach our fans. Whether through Twitter polls, Instagram videos, or Facebook groups, our fans have taken the responsibility of promoting, consuming, and advancing our league.
Let’s begin with the issue and excitement surrounding the idea of expansion. C.J. McCollum recently interviewed me and dropped the bomb of expansion in my direction. I mentioned that Seattle would be on a short list of cities considered if we were to move in the inevitable direction of expansion. I own that statement, and continue to hold true to it, but let’s take a step back to consider how difficult expansion can be.
There are three main factors to consider: ownership, money, and logistics. In the case that expansion is agreed upon, there would likely be two teams added, making the challenge twice as hard. First, we have to find two suitable owners, owners that are committed to building a team from the ground up, with the approval of all other owners in the league. Finding owners is a challenge with established teams - for a team that is not even created yet, this problem will be even more challenging.
Next, would be the money that is involved in putting a team in a city. Depending on the city, there would have to be an arena built, an accommodating hotel for visiting teams, and the city would have to create an infrastructure that would maintain the attendance of each game. Branding and naming rights would have to be considered as well. Advertising comes into play. And there is so much more. The financial investment to place a team would be overwhelming, and would potentially have to be fronted by a group of high-risk, low-reward investors.
And lastly, logistics. This category covers a laundry list of considerations that would have to be accomplished before ever deciding if expansion is worth it. For example, team travel. For you media here today, placing a team in London or Mexico City would mean the travel would be far more expensive than it may be worth. A city will have to have a major airport, capable of accommodating charter jets regularly with little hassle.
Another example is expansion drafts and all the headache that comes with player contracts and agreements. The timeline of building an arena in any given city. Hiring full-time staff members to run the everyday operation of an NBA team. Negotiating with city and state officials. Moving teams in each conference. The list goes on and on.
Sure, we have tackled this beast before, and will consider the opportunity to do it again. I just want to emphasize that expansion, if a possibility at all, will take years to implement. There is no shortcut when dealing with expansion.
Another issue that is sizzling with discussion is the idea of “super teams”. Is this a problem for the NBA? Will we ever see a shift away from super teams? Is the NBA too top heavy? All of these are great questions. And my first reaction is to say: relax.
The NBA has seen dynasties before, and the Warriors and Cavaliers’ three-year run of dominance is no exception. Dynasties come and go. Rivalries are created and fade away. I do not believe the NBA is too top heavy; there is great competition between every team in each conference. Sure, the Philadelphia 76ers won only one more game than the Warriors lost in the 2015-16 season, but who am I to take that away from Golden State?
Here’s one thing the NBA audience has to understand: we have a system of NBA drafting, free agency, and trading put in place for teams to use as long as they fall into the guidelines of each transaction. This gives teams the freedom and restrictions to build how they choose. Every team has this ability, and some teams are more savvy, or lucky, than others.
Sports in general are all about adaptation. Boxers don’t complain to the media after getting knocked out because their opponent was too “stacked”. Instead, in the next fight the boxer will prepare for their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. The NBA is no different. Teams will adapt, and the coaches will figure out a way to stop their opponent, no matter who it is.
And one last thing before I move away from super teams. Can we all just take a moment to appreciate how amazing these players are in our league? We should be appreciating what the Warriors are doing rather than finding ways to tear them apart. As basketball fans, aren’t we all striving to see our team dominate? If you’re their opponent, don’t you want your team to be just like them?
Now this next part of my address will be called the rapid-fire portion. There are a few quick things I would like to address that only need a short response. So bear with me as I attempt to go through these as concisely and articulately as I can.
- Did Russell Westbrook pad his stats to average a triple-double? Yes, it was very obvious, but his team allowed it, so drop the discussion. Should he have won the MVP? No, but I don’t get a vote, and if I did I would have voted for Stephen Curry.
- Does DeMarcus Cousins have an attitude problem that the league needs to address? Yes, I think counseling is the best option for him.
- Why is there a team in Utah? That team was placed there before my tenure as Commissioner. I honestly cannot explain it.
- Why is the Eastern Conference so weak? I wish I knew, but I can tell you this: I will not watch any games of the Eastern Conference teams unless Golden State happens to be playing them.
- Do I think Kyle Lowry is the most overrated player in the NBA right now? I want to say yes, but his teammate DeMar DeRozan could top him in that category. Let’s just say the Raptors are overrated.
Okay, just a few more and then I’ll move on.
- What player is most responsible for the anti-flopping rules in today’s game? Chris Paul has mastered the flop, and that is not a compliment.
- Should the NBA rehire every position in the New York Knicks organization and just start over? Yes. I don’t need to elaborate on that one.
I hope you guys were able to capture all of that. If not, there will be a random 13 year-old that will put this on his YouTube channel, so I would check there.
Before I conclude, I will address one more item. And I think all of you here today and listening at home will agree with this.
The NBA is America’s hottest league right now. We can’t hope to compete revenue-wise with the NFL, but in terms of popularity, we are the most viewed we have ever been. I mean, Summer League games sold out in Las Vegas! I love where the NBA is right now, and my goal for this upcoming season is to maintain the momentum we have, and capture the markets we are currently missing.
The success of the NBA is the responsibility of not only the loyal fans that we have here and abroad, but also of the players and coaches of this league. We are blessed to have players that connect with fans on and off the court, that work on their craft day in and day out, and are outstanding citizens of this nation. I give all the credit in the world to the players and coaches that have dedicated their time and effort to representing our league in the best manner.
The NBA season is only two months away, and like you all, I can’t wait for it to start. We have come a long way, and I hope that as a league we can continue to progress. Thank you all for coming.