12 March 2010
Q: Is there any downside to the Knicks signing any former college player with the last name "James," giving him No. 23 and selling out the Garden with $5 tickets and giveaways? Wouldn't the entire stadium not immediately purchase the 23 "James" jersey at the gate? Could LeBron possibly watch this game with the Garden going completely bananas all wearing No. 23 James jerseys and not think, I have to move to New York? He already has a 100-foot billboard outside the Garden. Is there any other equivalent of this in sports marketing? If the Sox became the worst team in the AL East, would you be OK with Jeter or CC posters outside Fenway? That's how low the Knicks are as a franchise. I just walk by the Garden every day and smile at the LeBron poster. -- Mike, New York SG: I get e-mails like this all the time. Knicks fans have lost their minds. Attending Monday night's Hawks-Knicks game in person, I was stunned by the devotion of the MSG crowd; they cheered like a playoff spot was at stake. If the Knicks were smart, they would be mailing LeBron's crew these game DVDs with anonymous notes like, "Check out our crowd -- we made this much noise on a Monday night when we were 20 games under .500. Imagine what would happen if you were here?" You know what's really incredible? The Knicks have sold nearly 2,000 more season tickets for the 2010-11 season with what's really turning into the greatest "Illusion of Regret" sales campaign ever. So why not sign a random "James" and give him No. 23 for a few weeks? Might as well. Q: In his recent letter to season-ticket holders enticing us to renew or upgrade our Wolves 2010-2011 tickets for up to 50 percent off, your nemesis David Kahn gives reasons the team is heading in the right direction, including that the team has built "a coaching staff that has collected 15 championship rings." At first I thought, "Wow, that's impressive." Then I started thinking: OK, I get that Kurt Rambis has four rings as a player and two as an assistant coach and that Bill Laimbeer has two as a player. But where did Dave Wohl, Reggie Theus and J.B. Bickerstaff collect seven more championship rings? Then a knot grew in my stomach as I thought, "No! He wouldn't! He couldn't!" I looked up the coaching bios and found that Dave Wohl was an assistant coach on a Lakers championship team, which I guess is legit. However, as best as I can tell the other six championships include Wohl's two Ivy League titles as a player at Penn almost 40 years ago, Theus' WAC tournament title as a coach at New Mexico State, and -- yes, my worst fears were realized -- Laimbeer's three championships as coach of the WNBA Detroit Shock! Now I feel even more slimy with Kahn as my team's GM. He makes me want to scream, William Shatner-like, "Kahn!!! Kahn!!!" -- Pete, St., Louis Park, Minn. SG: Look on the bright side: You get to wait another two-plus years for someone shooting 30 percent in a Euro league right now.
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