Thursday, February 14, 2013
the last book I ever read (David George Surdam's The Rise of the National Basketball Association, excerpt four)
from The Rise of the National Basketball Association by David George Surdam:
Owners’ attitudes toward gate-sharing policies shifted with their circumstances. Eddie Gottlieb suddenly became a fan of revenue sharing when he signed Wilt Chamberlain to a hefty contract. Some observers thought Gottlieb would have continued to earn a profit in Philadelphia, except for the Chamberlain-sized salary Wilt was earning. Gottlieb complained, “Listen, I’m paying this guy and you’re getting rich off him.” Chamberlain was indeed attracting large crowds to Boston and New York especially. Those owners didn’t want the Warriors to relocate to the West Coast, because they would lose some lucrative dates with the Warriors.
Other owners’ actions demonstrated malevolence toward weak teams. When the NBA absorbed five NBAL clubs for the 1949-50 season, Ned Irish made sure the Knicks did not host any of them, except for the Indianapolis team with its Kentucky and Olympic stars. He scheduled the other “podunk” teams to neutral sites. His actions did not endear him to the other owners. As Leonard Koppett pointed out, “There was no question of sharing gate receipts . . . but certainly the last group of National League teams absorbed would have liked, and perhaps benefited from, a touch of the New York exposure. In dollars and cents, Irish may have been absolutely right, but his attitude didn’t win him any allies among the owners who were struggling to stay solvent."