On Friday, Kyle and I spoke on the podcast with Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil about Larry Brown, gambling, Joel Embiid’s Twitter, and more. You can check the whole thing out on LibertyBroadcast.co when it posts later today, but here’s how O’Neil described the call he had with Brown following the duo’s public jabs at each other:
“I’m really disappointed in the comments you made. And we’re working our asses off here,” I said [to him]. “We’re working really hard, and I just don’t appreciate it. If you have an issue or problem, I’d rather you just pick up the phone and call and let’s talk it out. We’re big boys, we can handle it. We’re certainly far from perfect. I make mistakes every single day and so does Sam, but to say the things you said, I don’t appreciate it.” And he says to me, “I don’t appreciate what you said.” And man oh man there are a lot of things I could have said. I made the joke about SMU, a team that’s actually doing well. But everyone here that knows Philadelphia and Philadelphia basketball knows what I could have said and chose not to. I chose to go high road on it and that spiraled into more nasty stuff, and I don’t want that here. I don’t do well with negative energy and negative karma and I just want to talk this through a little bit and if you’re upset about something, then let’s chat.”
Additionally, as the CEO of a team that is sponsored by Party Poker and Draft Kings, O’Neil had some thoughts about sports gambling and Adam Silver’s New York Times Op-Ed in support of it:
“I don’t know if you’ve read the commissioner’s op-ed piece in the Times, but Commissioner Silver, who I worked for for several years and I’m very close with, just came out and said the NBA has opposed legalized gambling on sports in the U.S. for 20 years and we think it’s time to change our position. And his perspective is that there’s a lot of money that’s being spent, and through legalization you have much more regulation, you take it out from the shadows and you can track money flow easier and cleaner and therefore get rid of any of the issues. As long as you can keep the integrity of the game, it’s time for us to find a solution. And I would say I tend to agree with him. He’s a smart guy and he’s studied the issue a lot more than I have. But if you go to a soccer or football game in Europe and you walk into a suite they hand you a betting slip. “Who’s gonna score the next goal?” “Who’s gonna win the game?” It’s unbelievable. You can gamble on anything from time of possession to lord knows what.
Is that gonna come here with a really digitally connected fan base, where you can say “Is he gonna make these free throws? Here’s five bucks”? I dunno. But is sports betting coming to the U.S. legally? Absolutely. Is it going to be in 10 years or 10 months, I’m not quite sure. But I know it’s gonna be here, and I thought it was an interesting public statement from the commissioner.”
Once again, the whole podcast will be up later today with much more, including news that we’re finally getting that mascot by mid-January. It’s not Phil E. Moose – or a moose at all! – and it’s, you know, for kids.