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Heat owner speaks his mind on twitter, then thinks better of it

Oct 29, 2011, 9:01 AM EDT

Miami Heat owner Micky Arison arrives for the NBA labor negotiations in New York Reuters

We’ve known for a while that Miami Heat owner Micky Arison is a dove — he wants his team to start playing basketball again, he’d pretty much take the players deal on the table right now and roll with the season. As fans who want to see basketball, he’s our guy. Start the games. But as we know, hardliners are driving the bus.

When NBA labor talks blew up again on Friday, NBA fans were rightfully frustrated and lashed out on twitter. At players, at owners, at just about anyone.

Arison — the owner of Carnival Cruise Lines and someone active on twitter — got some of that backlash. One fan tweeted:

“How’s it feel to be apart of ruining the best game in the world? NBA owners/players don’t give a damn about fans … and guess what? Fans provide all the money you’re fighting over … you greedy (expletive) pigs.”

Arison’s reply: “Honestly u r barking at the wrong owner.”

We’d show you the actual tweet, but Arison took it down within the hour. Which you can bet came at the urging of the button down NBA league office. You can also bet that Arison — who is not button down, he looks like you think a rich guy in Miami should, tan and without a tie — has a fine coming, because he wasn’t done.

He retweeted one fan’s tweet that read: “Heat ratings proved that fans want to see super teams in big markets instead of a ton of small-market teams each with one (star).”

Another fan tweeted that to expect competitive balance from all “all 32 teams” was “unrealistic and stupid,” Arison re-tweeted it with a smiley face. Arison later said the smiley face was laughing at the 32 teams (the league only has 30). Right.

When one tweeter asked “are you allowed to comment about ur feelings on the small market/big market issues some of the owners bring up?” Arison replied, “no.”

This all undercuts the image Stern and his right hand man Adam Silver are working very hard to present — that the owners are a unified front. They are not. Yes they all wanted a better labor deal and were willing to push for it, but at this point some think they have enough and need to start playing. Others want the players to miss paychecks and break the union. And so here we are, with what should have been opening day Tuesday and no games scheduled, no talks even scheduled.

We need some unity. And Arison has reminded us of one thing that we all can agree on — owners, players and fans alike. It is my favorite tweet from his mini-rant.


We can all agree, nobody likes Sterling.

  1. redbear18 - Oct 29, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    I’m pretty sure the ratings came from all the people wanting to see the Heat lose, not that they wanted to see a superteam. Just saying.

  2. david8726 - Oct 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    I think the main point is that, whether you loved the heat or hated them, you were watching them. People always watch teams loaded with star power.

    The NBA was at it’s best when super teams were fighting it out in the 80s. The 1990s bulls super teams had amazing ratings. The Kobe and Shaq Lakers had awesome ratings. And now the Heat have awesome ratings.

    Star power + big market = ratings boom.

    Miami, Chicago, LA, Dallas, and Boston all had awesome teams this year. It’s no coincidence it was one of the most watched NBA seasons in years.

    • snoopy2014 - Oct 29, 2011 at 12:55 PM

      Agreed. The NBA was at its low point in the only decade you had true competitive balance: the 1970s. The NBA began its upswing when two big market teams (LA and Boston) were led by two superstars in the 80s, and reached its height of popularity when Michael Jordan ruled the NBA with an iron fist. The owners are playing fans for fools with this competitive balance argument. They don’t give a damn about parity. They just want money from the pockets of big market owners.

      I can completely understand the fans of small market teams wanting competitive balance. Everyone wants their team to have a better shot. But just know that careful studies have shown payroll only has about a 7% correlation with winning percentage.

      Revenue sharing is not a cure for idiotic management.

      The owners know the league will not be nearly as healthy or draw nearly as many ratings when Charlotte and Sacramento are playing in the Finals. They better hope they can recoup those losses through revenue sharing, or they’re only hurting themselves long-term.

  3. dcipher80 - Oct 29, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    There is a difference between the casual fan and the die hard fan. Casual fans tune in for the stars, don’t care about the lions share games, and root for teams out of market (you know the Laker fan that lives in Maine and has never been to the west coast) and you have the real fan. The real fan grew up watching a particular team (normally in market or the same team his family historically roots for), he knows what a screen is, and can tell you at least a little bit about every team in the league, he respects other teams and their stars but doesnt root for them, and he’s the maddest guy in the room about the lockout, but he’ll be the first guy to buy a ticket. The NBA attracts the casual fans by the droves nowadays but the real die hards are forgotten about. The nfl has figured out a system that gives every game meaning and every team a shot. Use their model. Every team won’t be competitive but at least every team has a shot to be competitive (if they are smart spend well and have a lucky break here and there). I’ve been watching the NBA with no real hope for my team for about half a decade so I could imagine what fans of teams like Milwalkee, the Sixers, the Bucks, Golden state, etc feel. Eventually we stop caring because the NBA doesn’t care about us and the actual product we care about. Throw us a bone.

    • magicfanintn - Oct 29, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      Every team has a shot to be competitive now. Find Tom Haberstroh’s article on competitive balance versus payroll. It is a myth-buster. Stifling the player’s incomes will not make small markets more competitive, because too many owners–small and large market alike–will continue to spend STUPIDLY. cf. Milwaukee & John Salmons. (btw, in your post you have both “Milwalkee” [sic] an”d the Bucks.” That’s the same team.)

    • snoopy2014 - Oct 29, 2011 at 1:00 PM

      I can understand where you’re coming from. The cold, hard truth is that David Stern and the NBA probably don’t care all that much – in the sense that they don’t differentiate between die-hard fans and casual fans. All they care about is fans that pay money to see games (in Staples, the majority of money comes from these casual fans).

      I, too, would like to see a system where the NBA recognized and acknowledged the fans that care the most about the game. But at the end of the day, it’s a business. They’re about making money, not sentiment. So if the droves of casual fans are driving the current high ratings, they’ll keep trying to attract those casual fans.

      Also, naming Milwaukee and the Bucks as separate teams doesn’t bode well for a supposed “die-hard” fan. Just sayin’.

  4. goforthanddie - Oct 29, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Wonder how he’d feel if he weren’t sitting on the Threego w/ the clock to a title running out.

  5. bigtrav425 - Oct 29, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    what’s the f/n purpose of any city having a team if it can’t be competitve..ever or rarely…competive balance is needed bottom line hands down end of f/n story!

  6. texmex2 - Oct 29, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    “Micky Arison is a dove — he wants his team to start playing basketball again”
    I wonder about Mickys stance if he owned the Hawks or did not land the “dream dream”, his position might be a little different. A 50/50 split ismore than fair…..

  7. cosanostra71 - Oct 31, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    well, at least fans aren’t the only ones who think Sterling is a tool

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