Let it be known that Mark Cuban is a great businessman and a top-notch owner.
However, the Dallas Mavericks’ manager may have been a little off when he recently stated that Kobe Bryant’s recent legal troubles would be good for the NBA.
Then again, he could be right on target.
He “clarified” his statement about the Kobe case by saying that the reason people will tune in is because it resembles “train-wreck” style television.
Controversy and glitz sell, so who could argue with him.
However, hardcore NBA fans will probably tune in to opening night of the NBA when the Mavs host the Lakers because of the star qualities of the two teams.
Look, you can’t go wrong with Dallas or Los Angeles.
The Mavericks are an offensive explosion waiting to happen while the Lakers have Shaq, Kobe and coach Phil (Jackson).
The Lakers will be even more intriguing having added two future Hall of Famers to the roster in Gary Payton and Karl Malone.
The point here is that there is enough interest in this game without any legal distractions.
However, those issues are there and many non-fans may tune in just to see Bryant much the same way that people watched Ray Lewis after his murder trial.
Don’t forget, Mike Tyson, despite all of his problems, is still one of the top boxing draws in the sport even with declining skills in the ring.
From a business perspective, the NBA could see a financial gain.
It’s clear that people like controversy especially from their athletes.
I would expect ticket and sports memorabilia sales to increase. I also believe that television ratings will also be fairly high.
How long these boosts last remains to be seen.
If Kobe is viewed as a victim, they could last fairly long. However, that will depend on the impending trial and how people perceive Bryant under the pressure of the cameras and a vicious prosecution.
So in a sense, the Bryant trial will probably be good for the business of the NBA. However, with regards to the NBA itself, it seems difficult to fathom that the league would be ecstatic over Bryant’s legal battle.
First of all, Bryant became the NBA’s poster child for all things good in the league.
The NBA had visions of him having as much face time in commercials as Michael Jordan did.
He seemed like the ultimate family man with a game as dominant as any in the league.
He was the perfect ace to push the league into a new level.
Of course, the NBA wouldn’t have put all of their eggs in the Bryant basket if not for the failings of other players.
Let’s not forget, this league has lost a great deal of credibility with bad apples like Allen Iverson, Payton, Chris Webber, Latrell Sprewell and just about half of the Portland Trail Blazers team.
The NBA needed a stirring personality that could remain out of the police blotter.
Unfortunately, Bryant was unable to do that.
So while the league will likely get that economic boost, the NBA didn’t need another problem child bringing down its already dirty image.