I wrote this post back in March, after Adam Aron went on a strange media tour in which he explained why the Sixers were so bad. I detailed the many reasons why I thought he was doing a terrible job as CEO, and as it turns out, I’m a goddamned soothsayer. So, given the news that he’s been fired, I figured, “Hey, why expend any energy when I can just use an old post, change the title and call it a day?” That’s what I’m doing. These are the reasons why I think Aron will now be looking for a distressed cruise line (perhaps this one?) to steer back to a prosperous port.
I’ve had enough.
Adam Aron keeps saying that he views fans as unpaid management consultants, thousands of passionate followers that give solicited and unsolicited opinions on each decision made by the newish Sixers ownership group. So, knowing that, consider this post free advice to Aron. Consultant’s fee waived.
Aron went on a mini media tour yesterday, first speaking with John Gonzalez at CSN Philly and then to an in-studio visit with Mike Missanelli at 97.5 The Fanatic, where he took calls from exactly the type of enraged hardos that would wait on hold for an hour to yell at an owner.
For Aron, it took balls. I’ll say that much.
I think it was somewhat overkill– the Sixers are in the midst of a losing season, but they didn’t sacrifice a small child in front of their 12,000 fans. A Rock Center-style sit-down with a charged up Gonzo and an hour and 20-minute-plus in-studio appearance with Missanelli felt like a bit much at this juncture. But, I’ll give Aron credit for taking the lumps, like he always does. He attached his face to the franchise, and he’s not backing down now that the going has gotten tough. Then again, Aron is a millionaire businessman who made a name for himself managing distressed entertainment properties back to health, so tough is a relative word here.
What we’ve seen in the year and a half since Aron, majority owner Joshua Harris and their nasally drones* have taken over the team is a series of alarming and somewhat offensive missteps that make you wonder if they nose know what they’re doing.
*Is it just me or do the Sixers have the second most nasally ownership (hello, Mark Cuban) in the NBA? Can’t they get an Afrin sponsorship or something? Hell, their mascot could even be a big nose that sneezes when the Sixers make a three.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time on these missteps on the site, so I’ll just touch on some of Aron’s accomplishments since taking over the team, with links for further reading:
Mascots. A moose, a dogg and Jerry Sandusky. These were the options Jim Henson’s Creature Shop came back with and that the Sixers, in turn, released to the public. That was more than a year ago, and the Sixers are still without a mascot.
Confetti. Perhaps the most noticeable in-game enhancement has been the confetti that ejaculates itself after each home win. Because the Sixers are a circus act. Or because it worked on a cruise line that Aron oversaw.
PA announcer. The Sixers get a da fuck? rating here. They turned Matt Cord into the website video interview guy (a role filled by interns at most professional sports organizations) and brought back 842-year-old Tom Lamaine to liven things up at the Well. A year later, they canned Lamaine, held an audition SO YOU CAN BE THE NEXT SIXERS PA ANNOUNCER (!!!)… and then went with Cord all over again. Fans are mad about many things, but I think this is the thing that should be investigated for false advertising. First off, who the hell makes a seasoned pro like Cord compete against jacklefucks to win back his old job? Second, DON’T DANGLE A STICK IN FRONT OF JACKLEFUCKS FOR YOUR OWN BENEFIT! The jacklefuck don’t like that. Did any of the auditioners ever really have a chance, or was this just some ruse by the Sixers to make it seem like you, the fan, could be part of the product? Because if it was the latter, I’d suggest holding an open audition to be the team’s center. Surely there is someone in Philadelphia who can pull down more than one rebound per game at the NBA level.
Ayla Brown. She’s pretty. Great pipes. Good singer, too. But she’s a former American Idol contestant from Boston whose father, Scott Brown, was (at the time of her hire) a Massachusetts Senator. Never mind that Harris’ company owns the rights to 19 Entertainment and American Idol, one Boston website lays out a great case that the reason Brown got the anthemeist gig with the Sixers was because, at the time, Harris needed support from then-Senator Brown to pave the way for a casino project that one of his companies, Caesars Entertainment, was bidding for in Boston. [Brown is out of office, but it sounds like Caesars is still in the running].
Cannon. The Sixers most productive offseason acquisition has been a giant cannon that shoots hundreds of t-shirts per minute.
Even P.T. Barnum is impressed with the absurdity of that list. Confetti, cannons, probably rigged contests? At what point will there be a bunch of near cross-dressers injecting artificial enthusiasm?
Now let’s turn our attention to some select comments made by Aron yesterday, because my BS meter is having a mild freakout.
Quotes from his sit-down with Gonzo:
“Few days after Orlando loss… same team went out on the floor, at home, before a pretty full house, and took on the Golden State Warriors, currently the sixth seed in the Western Conference, with a great exciting win.”
Adam Aron gets himself off to relativity. Third most wins in NBA history. 15th most made three-pointers in NBA history. These are lines that he’s used in a commercial and at the silly press conference at the Constitution Center. He used more of them yesterday.
Why did that sentence even come out of his mouth? After losing to the horrific Magic team, we came back and beat a barely above mediocre team from the West. Why is there the need to point out that the Warriors are the sixth team in the West? It truly doesn’t get more mediocre than winning that game at home.
“I [expect Collins to be back]… I want him to be here for years and years and years. Having said all that, this isn’t about our coach.”
With both Gonzo and Missanelli, Aron avoided stating that Doug Collins would definitely be back next season. I think that says more about where Collins is at (mentally) than the Sixers… but I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s not here in October.
“We pulled off a trade that a lot of people thought Philadelphia could never pull off.”
I wrote about this here. I hate this. On paper, it was a good trade for the Sixers. But the trade was about getting Dwight Howard to the Lakers, nothing more. The Sixers just happened to benefit from that. Give Tony DiLeo and Danny DeVito’s Penguin Rod Thorn credit for making it happen, but the Sixers were simply a beneficiary of a powerhouse team getting what they wanted and simultaneously discarding a massive, seven-foot 25-year-old with Chase Utley’s knees.
“The thrill of winning is so great, our ownership group really does want to give Philadelphia the pride that it deserves as a city.”
How, in the world, would Aron or Harris know this? Did they go to one of minority owner Marc Leder’s sex parties? Is that the thrill of winning we’re talking about? Because, actually, Asian hookers sound like quite the thrill. I just want to know.
“That’s our goal [to be an elite team]. We were on a nice path to getting there. Obviously, we were a couple of knees away from getting there.”
Bynum would not have made a team with Evan Turner’s bipolarity, Nick Young and Kwame Brown a contender for a title. Good team? Maybe. Not much more.
“We’re ether going to have the playoffs, or we’re going to have draft picks.”
Passionate. Intense. Proud.
Aron said the Sixers will build a $25-$30 million practice facility to lure top free agents.
This, I actually like. Good job.
“It is so ludicrous to think that press conference was a mistake… there was a reason why 1,500 fans showed up to the Constitution Center.”
No, the press conference was ludicrous. No one does that, unless you’re the Angels, and you just signed Albert Pujols. And Aron acts like 1,500 fans at a free event is some mass audience. 20,000 people (pay to) show up to the Wells Fargo Center at six in the morning to watch fat assholes eat wings every year.
“Four doctors cleared the trade. Six doctors have actively been treating [Bynum].”
What this means is that doctors from each of the four teams involved in the trade cleared the deal. There are now six doctors trying to make sense of why one doctor cleared Bynum.
“The billboard that you described (with Bynum’s picture on it) was a mistake from the billboard company that picked up artwork from months ago. Because we would have to be stupid right now to put up a billboard… with Andrew Bynum’s face on that billboard.”
I got nothing.
Aron keeps defending the Sixers’ public handling of Bynum’s injury, saying that they didn’t mislead the public and were as frustrated as anyone at the developments.
I’ll buy some of that. But, I outlined the timeline in November, and the Sixers weren’t exactly expedient with keeping the public abreast of recent developments:
Few things here: 1) The Sixers previously hadn’t made public that November 19 date… perhaps because telling fans before the season started that the star, hold a press conference for me at the Constitution Center center likely wouldn’t return to game action until around early December would have hurt ticket sales. Instead, on October 24, two days after Bynum visited the doctor, the Sixers said he wouldn’t return until he was pain free. 2) Bynum has reportedly already been doing low-impact activity. So that’s nothing new. And 3), after another visit to the doctor, seven days ago, the Sixers were told Bynum is still a month away from basketball activity and that it could take up to another four weeks after that until he sees significant game action. I’m good at math, and it’s telling me that Bynum might not play until after New Year.
“Back in the summer, we were being told we pulled off the best trade that the Philadelphia sports has seen in decade.”
Brad Lidge, 2007. Cliff Lee, 2009. Roy Halladay, 2009. I’d posit that those were better.
“We were routinely being tossed around in the press as being among the top three teams in the Eastern Conference.”
More relativity with Mikey Miss:
“There are 10 teams in the NBA with a worse record.”
20TH MOST WINS IN THE NBA!
“Hoops Hype says that we have the fifth highest payroll in the NBA this season.”
Why is an NBA CEO quoting Hoops Hype on salary numbers? Shouldn’t he, like, know that on his own? The point Aron was trying to make is that the Sixers aren’t afraid to spend to become a winner, and while I can’t wholly argue that claim, this statement was terribly misleading. The Sixers do, in fact, have the fifth highest payroll in the NBA, about $82 million this season. Let’s bake them a cake. But more than $32 million of that went to two players, Bynum and Elton Brand, who DIDN’T PLAY THIS YEAR (!!!). There’s no arguing that the Sixers tried with Bynum, and it’s hard to argue that amnestying Brand wasn’t a good move, but to act like their current payroll is an accurate indication of their devotion to winning is wrong. At least $16 million is waste. Remove Brand from the equation, and the Sixers drop to around 20th in the league in payroll (just like wins!) and become a team whose three highest paid players that actually played were, in order, Thad Young, Spencer Hawes and Nick Young.
There’s nothing wrong with any of that, because Turner and Jrue Holiday have favorable salaries right now, but Aron’s statement was very misleading, and I assume he knew it… or read it on Hoops Hype.
“I’ve issued more than 4,000 Tweets in 16 months.”
For real, who cares?
Aron also added his Twitter followers to Sixers followers to get sum total, as if that was some sort of gauge of fan interest. It comes out to around 200,000.
I’m sure there’s no overlap there. Oh, and Scott Hartnell has 191,000 followers.
I respect Aron for trying, and for taking the heat (not the Heat, though). Really, I do. But these tactics don’t work in Philly. We’re not a cruise ship or a ski resort or an airline. Giveaways, promotions, pretty things and loud noises only add to the experience of a great product… they don’t make a great a product, a great basketball team. And until we have one of those, it would be great if Mr. Barnum would stop insulting us with ancillary nonsense and misleading bullshit.