Jamie Reidy comments on two Hall of Famers taking different approaches to basketball fans booing their owner.
Last night was supposed to be all about Chris Mullin, whose jersey his Golden State Warriors were retiring. Having his number raised to the rafters is often the pinnacle of an NBA player’s career; as such, fans rained adoration upon “Mully.”
But then an idiot multi-millionaire felt it necessary to speak.
Joe Lacob, co-owner of the NBA’s Golden State franchise, took the microphone after #17 made his heartfelt and charming “thank you” speech.
Talk about tone deaf.
Joe and his fellow wealthy owners locked out their players in 2011. These owners prevented the fans from seeing their beloved teams until Christmas Day, six weeks later than scheduled. That, by itself, is reason for the Warrior faithful to boo Joe Lacob.
But then he actually gave them that opportunity, when he insisted on one-upping the most beloved player in recent team history (:26 mark of the video). Does the opening act come on for one more song after Springsteen closes with “Born to Run?” I think not.
Yet, Joe decided to say a few words. And the fans responded with one: “BOOOOOO!”
Faster than a Tim Hardaway crossover, things got awkward. The owner reacted like the cheerleaders in FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, when none of the students at the pep rally get rallied.
Fortunately for Joe, Chris Mullin attempted to deliver in crunch time once again (2:05). The former college player of the year and Olympic gold medal winner warmly draped his arm around the owner, flashed an understanding smile at the fans – his fans – and tried to convince them that Mr. Lacob is the owner who will restore the Warriors to the top.
Mullin’s move reminded me of former Philadelphia 76ers head coach Maurice Cheeks’ coming to the aid of a teenaged singer who forgot the lyrics in the middle of the National Anthem. He joined her and the crowd went crazy for them both. Of course, Cheeks rescued a young girl from embarrassment, not a multi-millionaire who should’ve known that nobody other than himself wanted to hear him speak. But #17 tried:
I’ve got great confidence…everything will work out fine. Just a little bit of patience…use that passion!
The paying customers did not buy it. “BOOOOOO!”
In response to their response, the biggest legend in Golden State team history grabbed a mic (3:06). But Rick Barry did not try to charm anyone.
C’mon, people!…show a little bit of class…this is crazy..seriously…c’mon, you’re doing yourself a disservice…give him the respect he deserves.
I’ve got a lot of respect for Rick Barry, who enjoyed a stellar career yet is plagued to be remembered as the guy who shot free throws underhanded. And I normally approve of the taskmaster type of delivery.
But not this time. Those fans paid money to praise their hero, not listen to the owner. It’s interesting to note who did not speak, Lacob’s co-owner Peter Guber, the Hollywood titan. Obviously, Mr. Guber knows his audience a lot better.
Who do you think had the right approach, Chris Mullin or Rick Barry?
Photo by: Comcast