Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Roundtable: The Next Former NBA Player Turned Owner

Which of these guys deserves to own an NBA franchise? Probably not Damon Stoudamire. Sorry. (Tsugufumi Matsumoto/AP)

BDD's Friday Roundtable is a weekly discussion among a group of our writers on a trending NBA or college basketball topic.

This week's question: Shaquille O'Neal recently became an owner of the Sacramento Kings. What retired player do you want buy an ownership stake in an NBA team next?


I'm 100 percent sure this is okay within NBA guidelines: Jason Kidd should buy a piece of the New York Knicks. Not only does Kidd have recent history with the 'Bockers, but, if for some reason David Stern and Adam Silver were to look down upon such a purchase, they're overlooking the fact that it would virtually ensure Kidd doesn't become the first NBA player-coach in decades. What we lose in the potential player-coach situation and Kidd backing up Deron Williams while logging minutes with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, we gain in one of the greatest point guards ever becoming the King of New York. Barclay's Center, where Kidd's Brooklyn Nets play, is the House that Jay-Z Built, but could Hova - now without an ownership stake in the BK franchise - really rival the owner of both New York basketball teams, one who happens to hold multiple assist and three-point records in a professional tenure that includes stints with both the Knicks and Nets? I can't decide, and I'm betting you're likely split, too, since no one has been able to agree who rap's King of New York is since the Notorious B.I.G. passed away. Hip-Hop can't agree that Jay is the top dog in its own community; how would they be able to present a united front against Kidd, whose presence would be felt in more than the two boroughs in which his NBA franchises would reside?


Guys, there's plenty of good answers out there. Shawn's is a fine example. I would very much enjoy Barkley as an owner. Kareem could become an owner and have the power to make himself the coach so he can finally get a coaching job. I can't say this one, because the question says retired player, but who wouldn't want to see LeBron James buy the Cavs once his playing days are over to have the Cleveland sports fans who ridiculed him so much in the palm of his hand. Not to mention keeping Dan Gilbert on but in a new role as one of the boys who wipes down the court during timeouts. Then LeBron could trade for and subsequently trade away Andrew Wiggins to New York, where he then buys the Knicks with Jay-Z and sells the Cavs to Chris Bosh.

But again, LeBron isn't retired yet, so that answer will have to wait. So my answer is ... Brian Scalabrine. Why not? I imagine he got the money when challenging and beating all of those civilians to 1-on-1 games in Boston. And that's exactly why he should be an owner. Everyone will doubt him. He will be the butt of jokes. He's a guy who was the butt of jokes throughout his career, yet played 11 years in the league. Scalabrine will compile a team of underdogs who no one will take seriously, Moneyball style, because how could they compete with Miami and then oh my god they are up by 14 already how is that possible? A movie will be made where Scalabrine will be played by Louie C.K. and he will be one of the most praised owners of his generation.

When I first began racking my brain for a suitable candidate to answer this question, I found myself continuously drawn to players who I thought would make good NBA coaches, rather than owners. There are some prominent names who could potentially be very good coaches, but I struggled to find one I thought would be a good owner. However, when it comes down to it, I was able to settle on one former player I desperately want to see become an NBA owner above all others. And it’s really not even close.

It has to be Charles Barkley. 

Think about it. Barkley has the personality to rival even the most flamboyant and impassioned owners, like a Mark Cuban. His personality is infectious and he would be a fantastic interview for journalists and broadcasters who cover his team. Having worked on the other side of the sport as an analyst and broadcaster, I feel Barkley would be very open with any person who is fortunate enough to earn the assignment of interviewing him. His personality lends itself to being very forthright anyway, so having the experience on the other side would only encourage him to be open and honest, with the frankness that only Barkley can provide.

Barkley also has the well-deserved reputation of being a big spender, so opening up the checkbook to bring in high-priced free agents won’t be a problem. His history of gambling could potentially drive fans crazy if Barkley has a hunch on an unproven player. But overall, the willingness to spend money is a plus for an organization. I think you could potentially see another “Dream Team” similar to the one in Miami, because I think Barkley is more than willing to spend what it takes to bring the best to his team. 

Finally, there is one major reason I feel Barkley would be a fantastic owner: He’s never won an NBA championship. Ever. I remember an instance on TNT where everyone on the panel had been to and won an NBA championship, except Barkley. It was brought up extensively, and you could tell it ate at Barkley. He wants that ring. He wants to hoist that trophy in the air, and this is his best chance to do it. His competitive fire would be fantastic to see on the sideline, and a real asset in the locker room. All of these elements combined culminate to why I believe Barkley should absolutely make the investment and become an NBA owner.

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