Blog Entry

Paul Allen emerges as latest lockout villain

Posted on: October 21, 2011 12:08 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 3:22 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver

The NBA lockout gained its first true villain when Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett allegedly helped hijack labor talks a week or so ago. (NBA commissioner David Stern and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter have been reviled for so long that they don't count as villains any more.)

Garnett, the story went, interjected into the discussions to stamp his foot down and launch into one of his patented intimidation acts, sending a message to both the league's owners and his own union leadership that he was there to draw a line in the sand. Garnett caught hell for this story, of course, because he's a bully on the court, he's stubborn, he's a little bit off his rocker, he was called uninformed as to the state of earlier negotiations and, most importantly, he's rich beyond his wildest dreams, having netted career NBA earnings of more than $200 million. 

But everything said about Garnett goes double, triple, or one hundred fold, for Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen. And, wouldn't you know it, Allen emerged on Thursday as the latest villain of the ongoing NBA lockout charade.

Hunter said in a news conference that Allen was tasked with telling the players union that the owners would refuse to negotiate if the players would not agree to a 50/50 revenue split. Hunter said he responded by asking whether they could table that issue to return to a discussion of system issues, and Allen only responded with silence. Shortly thereafter, talks broke down.

Allen is Garnett on steroids.

You want stubborn? Allen rode his pipe dream of running a cable company all the way to the ground, losing billions of dollars and eventually declaring bankruptcy.

You want off his rocker? He's currently being sued by his own ex-military bodyguards amidst allegations of illegal activity, his helicopter recently crashed during an excursion to Antarctica and, oh yeah, he's gone through two general managers and a vice president of basketball operations since the 2010 NBA Draft. He passes his time, including on Thursday morning, exchanging tweets about what rock song the Seattle Seahawks, his NFL franchise, should play at practice. Carroll plays along, of course, because he, like every Allen employee, knows his job depends on it.

You want "uninformed" on the state of the negotiations? Allen deputized team president Larry Miller to attend Board of Governors meetings and labor negotiations on his behalf. He put exactly the same amount of blood, sweat and tears into the possibility of a labor agreement as Garnett: none. 

You want emotional? Allen recently wrote an autiobiography that included many unflattering stories about, and a recounting of decades-old grudges towards, his Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, one of the world's greatest philanthropists. The book led to a falling out between the two men, who had been friends since high school, with Allen admitting during a television interview that Gates had stopped talking to him.

And, of course, there's the money issue. All you need to know about that is that Allen has a private island for sale, owns multiple yachts (one of which cost $200 million to make, nearly as much money as Garnett has earned during his NBA career), and has a helipad on the roof of the Rose Garden, Portland's home arena. Forbes pegged his net worth at $13.2 billion on a recent list of the 400 richest Americans, a figure that made him worth more than the next two richest NBA owners on the list, combined. 

Why, you might be asking, would the owners pick Allen, of all people, to deliver the hard-line message to the union that ultimately led to the disintegration of talks and all sorts of harsh accusations on Thursday?

Because he's so rich that he's immune to the criticism, as capable of buying silence and peace of mind for himself as anyone on the planet. A man who has been cleanly divorced from the common man for decades. A man who claims to have lost a billion dollars on the Blazers in his two decades of ownership and therefore couldn't care less about the fallout that results from a nuclear explosion in the middle of labor talks.

Allen refused to take questions from the media after firing GM Kevin Pritchard on the night of the 2010 NBA Draft and again refused questions when he abruptly fired GM Rich Cho in May. He doesn't care about accountability and he definitely doesn't care about the notion of a "fair deal for both sides." All he cares about, in the end, is pursuing his own self-interest to the max. Allen answers to no one, ever. If he can toss aside a childhood friend, business partner and colleague like Bill Gates, why are we or the NBPA surprised in the slightest that he is only willing to negotiate on his terms? Everything is take it or leave it with him.

Allen in the ultimate pit bull. Next to him, Garnett looks like a poodle. Did either man personally derail these lockout talks, which have seemed headed for disaster for months now? No. But if you were looking for an NBA villain, you got one on Thursday.

Since: Aug 26, 2009
Posted on: October 24, 2011 2:32 pm

Paul Allen emerges as latest lockout villain

The boss is usually the man with the money. The biggest boss is the man with the most money. If the boss owns the team, then that makes the players employess and in the Real World, the employees don't tell the Boss what to do. It is the other way with the Boss telling the employees what to do and how much to make. If the NBA players don't think so, let them all go apply for a real job in the real world and see who cares about being mistreated. Rich spoiled brat athletes have ruined all sports. I will boycott everything to do with labor disputes in sports. If they want to play, take what the Boss gives you or get a real job.

Since: Apr 29, 2011
Posted on: October 24, 2011 11:30 am

Paul Allen emerges as latest lockout villain

Lol did you say that it took intelligence to get where they are? I'm with you on dedication and ambition, but intelligence? Garnett couldn't get a minimum score to attend college which is why he jumped straight to the NBA.

Since: Mar 16, 2010
Posted on: October 23, 2011 8:41 pm

Paul Allen emerges as latest lockout villain

Great points except for the part that if the players were getting 57%, to ask them to go as low as 50% we know is not right. Also lets get rid of the bad markets, i.e. Minnesota, Sacremento, Memphis, and the league would be that much morre competitve. The owners are rich off other ventures, this is the workers jobs. I get paid a decent salary for my work. There are only 350-400 people in the world that can do the work of an NBA player. 32 teams x 12 players. Anyways, lets come together, the owners are locking the players out, just like in football. Cmon Man

Since: Oct 14, 2011
Posted on: October 23, 2011 12:59 am

Paul Allen emerges as latest lockout villain

This Golliver guy sure knows alot about Mr. Allen.
I would like to see the dossier he has compiled.
Very in-depth accounting of this Allen character.
Too bad the Blazers are JinXed. Sounds like Allen might be as well.

Since: Sep 27, 2007
Posted on: October 22, 2011 9:04 pm

Paul Allen emerges as latest lockout villain

I guess if you say it enough times it somehow becomes true? So I'll just keep pointing out your ignorance or naivety: the owners are NOT losing money. They don't show their books for a simple reason: they are NOT losing money. And if a few teams, due to their own horrific decisions, ARE losing money, it is the rich OWNERS in L.A., NY, Boston, etc. that should share their obscene revenue (in the billions for TV alone), not the players, who are the elite talent (yes, elite, a few hundred on a planet of billions). You people are being punked, but I guess you're used to it by now.

Since: Sep 27, 2007
Posted on: October 22, 2011 8:58 pm

Paul Allen emerges as latest lockout villain

The owners are NOT losing money. Have you seen the books? No, because they won't open them. You are a supreme sucker and a lackey for these pigs who would step on your face without blinking. You deserve your miserable life.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 21, 2011 4:24 pm

Paul Allen emerges as latest lockout villain

He is loosing money because he can't manage to find the rigth ppl to manage his team so he needs to sell the fucking team i could care less about him loosing money.. they are always soldout so they not a small market team..the team loosing money is on him if he doesnt like it sell the team..the player acknowledged that they need to give some money back and they will but the owners are greedy and ignorant..

First of all this isn't about Paul Allen losing or making money, this is about an entire league losing 300 million dollars and 23 teams losing money.  Second of all being sold out means nothing when they aren't profiting.  Finally, how can an illiterate person like yourself call the owners ignorant?  

In a little paragraph a little more then 3 lines long, you spelled the word losing wrong not once, but 3 times.  And you spelled the word "right" wrong as well.  As for you not caring if he loses money, guess what?  You don't matter..... every business owner is entitled to see his business do well, especially a business that grosses almost 4 billion dollars in 1 calendar year and a business where illiterate players are making millions to play a game.

Since: Oct 2, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:39 pm

Paul Allen emerges as latest lockout villain

He is loosing money because he can't manage to find the rigth ppl to manage his team so he needs to sell the fucking team i could care less about him loosing money.. they are always soldout so they not a small market team..the team loosing money is on him if he doesnt like it sell the team..the player acknowledged that they need to give some money back and they will but the owners are greedy and ignorant..

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:23 pm

Paul Allen emerges as latest lockout villain

Paul Allen may be an ass, and he may have more money than any other owner or player in the NBA.  All that aside, the labor negotiations are not about what Paul Allen's net worth is.  From what I can tell, none of his money has been derived from owning the Blazers, quite the opposite, it taking money away.  The context of what is going on is about the health of NBA franchises, and if Allen's numbers are true, he is losing his shirt on this business.  Most people in business, if they were losing what he says he is and did not have buckets of money due to success outside of the NBA, would file bankruptcy or sell as fast as possible.

You're right.  I don't have the slightest clue why a writer would talk about what an owners net worth is or how much his yacht is worth.  The bottom line is Paul Allen is filthy rich, one of the richest people on the planet but not because of the NBA.   Billionaires didn't become billionaires holding on to businesses that lose money year after year.  As a matter of fact billionaires don't hold onto many businesses that barely break even for very long.  Billionaires own and run businesses that are PROFITABLE.... no exceptions.  

The problem that exists right now in the NBA is the players are profiting handsomely for every season they play basketball but the owners are losing money.  Before the lockout lasted this long experts forecasted the NBA's BRI would be about 4 billion dollars for the 2011-2012 season, or about 5 percent more higher then the previous season.  Had the players accepted the owners offer of a 50-50 split, this would mean the owners cut would be around 2 billion dollars.  Their cut last season amounted to approximately a little over 1.634 billion dollars which meant an approximate 300 million dollar loss.  Simple math tells us had the union agreed to a 50-50 split and the 4 billion dollar estimated BRI was correct, the owners would instead profit around 66 million dollars or basically around 2 million dollars per owner.  Not a very large profit but if the NBA's BRI increases another 5 percent again the second year of the agreement, the owners would pocket another 100 million dollars... and every 5 percent after that is a little more then that.  A 50-50 split means as long as the NBA continues growing that over time the owners will profit nicely as well and make what they do and the risks they have taken worth while.  It would take quite a few years to recoup their losses from the last few seasons but at least a 50-50 split would have been a start... instead, the union said no.

I'm actually surprised the owners didn't stick to their demands of 53 percent to be honest.....  it would have been amounted to 500 million per season more then the prior year and they would have recouped their losses from the last 2 seasons almost immediately.  The fact the owners are willing to start at 50-50 and wait a while before they see real profits shows me they are bargaining in good faith. The players?  They continue to live in their own little unionized world....  nothing anybody can do about that but you gotta wonder how long can they really hold out.  How long can the players continue to lose 100 percent of their paychecks when all they had to do was give up around 13 percent to continue playing basketball?  

Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 3:17 pm

Paul Allen emerges as latest lockout villain

Allen has plenty of shirts.

Leave the fast food reference out of this it just makes you seem jealous that Garnett has a bigger dick than you. The guy's a veteran all-star he's filthy rich. Despite this no one needs to down play the intelligence of these athletes. It takes intelligence, dedication, and ambition to get where they are and if that drive were directed somewhere else they would be successful at that too.

NBA season, maybe, maybe not. Either way I would rather watch High School JV Basketball than Hockey.

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