Archives for category: Uncategorized

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has been around since April 1996. Being a counterpart to the National Basketball Association (NBA), the majorly of teams in the WNBA share the market with an NBA team. Even at one point, all of the teams in the WNBA were owned by the NBA. However although the WNBA is closely related to the NBA, the difference in popularity between the two leagues is literally the different between day and night. But the popularity factor isn’t even the sad part. The sad part is the WNBA players make very little money compared to the NBA players.

(Many WNBA players like, guard Erin Thorn of Chicago Sky, are extremely talented yet make much less than your typical NBA player)

You know how much the average NBA player makes? The average Joe in the NBA makes at least $5.15 million. Even the 15th man off of the bench makes at least $2 to $3 million a year. I won’t even get into how much guys likes LeBron James and Kevin Durant make. Guess how much a top tier player in the WNBA can at expect to make in a life time? A little bit over $100,000. It amazes the difference in the amount of money being made between the two leagues. The problem is that WNBA players simply cannot draw in the amount of fans and money that a NBA superstar can. Why is this?

I’m a fan of basketball. I can literally sit down and watch male players, female players and even little kids play and be entertained. But the WNBA seems to struggle with getting a strong fan base to rally behind it. Perhaps the idea of no female players soaring through the air like LeBron James is a turn off for most casual viewers. Or maybe the lack of physically simply is not enough to please the average viewer. I honestly feel that most people who are not WNBA fans are simply not willing to give it a try. The way I see it if you’re truly a hardcore basketball fan then you won’t find any basketball game boring, regardless of who’s playing.

Advertisements

The National Basketball Association like many other professional sports leagues has done a lot to change their image in recent years. I’ve been a basketball fan since the mid 90’s. Players like Michael Jordan and Penny Hardaway got me attached to the game at a very early age. I’ve seen all of the trends and fads that came along with the game. One thing that I clearly remember was back in 2005 when NBA commissioner David Stern announced a new dress code policy that was effective immediately. This new dress code was assigned to all NBA and NBA DL players. This was huge for the time because it was the first time that a major professional sports league created a dress code.

 

(Allen Iverson (left) is seen wearing a typical pregame outfit prior to the dress code. Kevin Garnett (right) is seen wearing what now typical after the dress code was established)

The details of this rule were simple, players were required to wear a jacket and tie to all games and during the press conference. So now that we get into that the question is, why did David Stern do this? From what I saw as a fan looking from the outside in was the league at the time was getting a bad reputation for being closely associated with the hip-hop culture. This involved bagging clothes and du-rags. This was not a professional look and hip-hop was not seen in a portrayal of professionalism and often held somewhat of a bad reputation. I can remember players like Allen Iverson and Paul Pierce standing up to the NBA front office by directing criticizing their decision to implement a dress code.

Iverson and Pierce criticized the NBA for attempting to take away from their character while the league was simply trying to protect their image. Today the dress code is still intact but is not as strict as it was back in 2005. Players do not have to wear a coat and tie but they must dress in a manner that is presentable and must be approved by the coaches. I personally don’t think that the dress code is a bad idea. I can understand guys like Allen Iverson who feels that clothes are a part of their identity but it’s important to remember that everyone’s “identity” is not was is always presentable. At the end of the day, the NBA is a business. I like to wear a t-shirt and athletic shorts but does that give me the right so show up to work in that like?

We all know that the last thing a university or any business for that matter want to deal with is a huge pr crisis. I was taking the time the other day to think about the worst public relations crisis that a University ever had to deal with. First schools that came to my mind were schools like Miami University and the University of Southern California athletic scandals to Ohio State’s tattoo scandal and of course the most recent and perhaps the worst of them all, Penn State’s sex scandal. While evaluating these scandals I would like to take the time to make note a few things to take away from these.

One thing that ever one of these scandals showcase is bad upper management in my opinion. Every single one of these incidents involved a hand full of people rather than the university at large. However one thing that is important to remember is that whenever a crisis within an organization occurs, it’s best to address the public as all these universities did in fact do. By taking the time to acknowledge the action and to take initiative to see to it that the organization is propelling forward is a must in my opinion. I felt in Penn State’s case, there was no real way to truly fix the issue; instead it’s best to simply do whatever is necessary to cover them up with good pr practices.

I think that even though these Universities have made mistakes, they took the proper routes towards solving the matter. It’s important in my opinion to not pretend that incident never occurred but instead it’s best to acknowledge your mistakes and to move forward from there. By being in transparent with the usage of social media and sending a consistent message, you come across as more genuine. This makes it easier for the public to forgive you and move on in my opinion.

 

Very few professional athletes can raise the to level of star power that LeBron James has achieved. Throughout his basketball career, LeBron has elevated to the level of success that has not be seen since Michael Jordan played. To this day LeBron James has become a global phenomenon. Gracing the cover of ESPN at the age of 18-years-old, LeBron James is no secret to the spotlight. All his life, LeBron has been watched and scrutinized by the media and has been very cautious of his image throughout his career. However that all took a hit in the Summer of 2010.

We all remember it like it was yesterday. James was a free agent back in 2010 and was coming off a tough playoff loss to the Boston Cetlics. LeBron James made the tough the decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and to join forces with Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. It wasn’t the decision that dented his image, but more so how it was handled by James.  LeBron James did the unthinkable by holding a 1 hour special titled “The Decision”. James would ultimately break the hearts of all of his fans in Ohio by announcing his decision to leave on national television. Many accused LeBron of being selfish and a narcissist. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert called the decision an act of “cowardly betrayal”.

(LeBron as a member of the Miami Heat)

However within the past year, LeBron James image has slowly but surely begun to improve. This in my opinion is because using this personality and attaching it to his image. LeBron James has used his Twitter and Instagram account to reveal his more fun side. In many videos and photos LeBron James is shown having fun and doing positive charity work. Even while playing on the court James is often seen goofing around on the bench and sideline during the game. LeBron James has taken his brand and brought life to it. This makes it easier for him to relate to others and it’s hard to hate someone who loves to have fun doing something that they love.

(LeBron James has use positively and humor to help heal some of his wounds)

The video provides an example of LeBron and his teammates doing their own parody of the Harlem Shake.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ir2TdfSwH8g

One thing at all PR professionals can take anyway from LeBron is that it is important to remember to always focus on connecting with others. Rather than trying to convince someone to buy into your brand, make the extra effort to establish some rapport with your target audience. It comes off as more authentic and it improves your brand’s image.

There are many athletes that have the luxury of playing their desired sport while pursuing a higher education free of charge. Many schools throughout the country reward thousands of college athletes with a free ride throughout their college journey.  Many schools require students to renew their contact every other year or every year. Unfortunately, there are students that get stripped of their scholarship due to becoming ineligible to fulfill their promises in the contact. These can be from of unexpected pregnancies, bad grades, etc. But there are times in which a player may become injured and scripted of their scholarship. The question is whether or not it is a good PR move on the schools part to do this.

One key example that comes to my mind is Kevin Ware. Kevin Ware is a second year shooting guard out of the University of Louisville. Ware recently suffered an injury to his right leg during this year’s NCAA March Madness tournament. It was one of most graphic injuries that I’ve ever seen. It was so bad that CBS had to immediately stop showing replays during the live broadcast of the game. For those with a strong stomach I suggest stop reading for a minutes and go take a look at it. Those of you that are scared of becoming scarred for life, simply read on.

Kevin Ware during his sophomore at Louisville (Pic from Self.com)

The saddest part of the Kevin Ware story is that there is a strong chance that he could lose his scholarship for a year and be focused to pay for the medical bills himself. Louisville is one of those schools that renew their players and coaches scholarship every other year. Although they have the right to take it away I feel that it would not be a smart move to do so. Reason why is because this story has gotten so much attention in the media. The injury was so graphic that everyone, even non NCAA fans were drawn to the story. The way that Ware’s teammates were emotionally affected by the injury was a strong narrative. It’s no secret that Louisville could become the bad guys in this story. With that said the question remains: Under what circumstances is it wrong for schools to script away scholarships?

 

 

What is it about social media that makes it so addicting among users? Seriously, think about: I can’t count the amount of people that would wake up and send out a tweet first thing in the morning. The average person checks their Facebook about 5 times a day, and the total amount of time a person spends on Pinterest is nearly 72 minutes per session. People are in loved with the idea of constantly sharing their story with the rest of the world. This goes for pro athletes as well, which is why most professional sports have placed a banned on it.

As I mentioned before, it is so easy for people use social media as a dumping ground for all of their emotions. This is why both the NFL and NBA have placed a banned on the use of any type of social media outlet before, during and directly after the game. For the NFL, no social media usage is allowed 90 minutes before and after the game (this includes halftime). For the NBA, using social media is prohibited 45 minutes before and after the game (this also includes halftime as well). Players are often expected to address the media before tweeting out to their followers.

Many fans refer to the prohibiting of social media usage the “Villanueva Rule”. Back in 2009 Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva was frustrated with his in-game performance and begin tweeted during half-time “In da locker room, snuck to post my twit. We’re playing the Celtics, tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more toughness. I gotta step up”. The NBA went out of their way to enforce a new rule that would put a stop to this immediately.

(Pistons forward (then a member of the Milwaukee Bucks) Charlie Villanueva received some heat from the NBA front office for Tweeting during a basketball game back in 2009)

We all know that a lot of people, including professional athletes like the idea of expressing their idea, emotions and beliefs via social media because it allows them to connect with on so many people and it gives them a dump ground for all their emotions. However I agree with NFL and NBA for holding players accountable for what tweet and when they are allowed to tweet it. Professional athletes must be held more accountable for their actions and be more cautions of what they send out to the followers. Not just for PR’s sake, but because just like us, their bosses just might be watching.

(Photos courtesy mlive.com and theoatmeal.com)

When I sit down to watch ESPN’s sports center, I’m reminded of how much work it takes to be able to constant provide news stories regarding sports. Like any other company that places an emphasis on discovering and creating stories, ESPN writers must constantly communicate with teams, players and analysts and make a decision as to what type story do they believe the fans want to hear about. With so many resources to utilize out there, writers a left to come up with their own stories and must choose stories that they feel will be of interest to sports fans.
 
ESPN features sports analysts that cover every single sport that you can think of. However, I do tend to notice that they have all have a tendency to constantly report on big market teams. Let’s take the NBA for example. Unfortunately we live in a world were ESPN believes that everyone cares only about New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, etc. Seeing the fact that they have given each of one of these cities their own homepage on ESPN (it would be nice if Cleveland had one). I find it amazing that the Los Angeles Lakers who are in the middle of one of their worst seasons to date are gaining more publicity than a teams such as the Indiana Pacers or Memphis Grizzles who are currently in the middle of having one of their best seasons date. The same goes for the MLB, when no matter how bad the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox are doing, they will always gain seem to gain more attention than teams such as the Rockies, Twins and Indians.
 
I’ve noticed this trend for quite some time now. I understand that ESPN, like any other news source, works hard to provide stories to their fans. I just wish that ESPN would focus more of their efforts on equally reporting on both big market and small market teams. It makes for much more interesting stories and it allows us to hear about everything that is going on in the sports world without having to rely on websites such as RealGM.com to give us the inside scoop.