Hey, gang. Zac Crain here. You may remember me from such time-wasting joke posts as the one about the thing, and all the other ones. We have some fun here, but today, I’m here to talk about something serious. That’s right: a massive, winner-take-all, basketball tournament featuring locked-out NBA players inside the Death Star or Jerry World or whatever we’re calling it now.
Here is the deal. The Cowboys play Detroit at home on October 2. Since following that is a bye week and then a road game against New England, that means the stadium will be (mostly) empty (I think) for three weeks. That is more than enough time. At most, this would take a couple of weeks, but we could easily make it go three to keep everyone fresh and max out the revenue.
The tournament will consist of 24 teams. Each team would put in $1 million. Everything else — gate receipts, TV revenue (I have no idea if TNT or ESPN/ABC would be banned from televising it, since they have contracts with the league, but there are dozens of other networks that would gladly step in), merch, sponsored tweets, whatever — would be split down the middle. Half goes to the winning team, and the rest goes to operating costs and, yes, Jerry, I suppose. (I’m giving him a reason to do this. Step off.) I would guess, and this may be wrong but I’m not doing any math, that the winning team could stand to take home in the neighborhood of $40 million. Maybe a bit more if Jerry could — and he probably definitely would — sell some sponsorships.
Each team will be captained by a member of 2011 All-Star team. Of that list I linked to, I would guess three players would not participate: Deron Williams (playing overseas), Yao Ming (retired, thanks to persistent foot injuries), and Dirk Nowitzki (I’m not 100-percent ruling him out, but he seems like a guy who would rather just scrimmage with a German club team). Since Yao was already replaced at the ASG (with Kevin Love), we just need two replacements. I suppose it could be anyone, but my choices are Steve Nash and LaMarcus Aldridge. For our purposes, let’s just assume everyone else is in.
So, our team captains are, on the East side of the bracket: Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Amar’e Stoudemire, Dwight Howard, Ray Allen, Chris Bosh, Kevin Garnett, Al Horford, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo. On the West side: Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Nash, and Aldridge.
A number of NBA players have made deals to play with European squads while waiting for the owners and the players’ association to come to some sort of agreement. Which seems like it is going to take quite a while. But so far, the biggest name to make the jump is, as I mentioned, Deron Williams. While, yes, it might be nice to have a hometown(-ish) guy involved, I think we can get by without Deron Williams. And I’m not saying he is not allowed to play in the tourney. If his Turkey club says OK, or the equivalent Turkish phrase (in my head, I imagine it’s like “Bossk” or something), then, sure. By all means.
But everyone else is available, and I think most of them would join up. I’m not going to bog down in the details of the draft, or whatever method we use to disperse the players. (Off the top, I’d say, team captains pick players, order is determined by seniority.) Each team would have a roster of up to 10 players, but there are two conditions. One roster spot must go to a retired former player and another must go to a non-professional. It could be someone from the And1 gang, I suppose, but I’m thinking it should/would be a celebrity (or semi-celebrity) who has a bit of game.
For the first round, two games will be played simultaneously — the stadium is big enough to support two courts side by side, and the giant TV screen is enough of a giant TV screen to keep people in the stadium plugged into the action. After that, one game at a time, until there is a winner. No games on Saturdays or Sundays; don’t want to waste time getting in the way of king football.
There you go. My cut is 1 percent and a commemorative t-shirt.