I’ve wanted to comment on Joe Lacob being booed during Chris Mullin‘s jersey retirement. The funny thing was I’d actually heard this story before. In fact, it’s virtually a carbon-copy of Mike Birbiglia’s story of a gig he had at a ‘celebrity’ golf tournament (For fun I’ve changed the names to apply to Lacob):
He got a standing ovation, which he should have. Clearly, the show is over. Surely, there can’t be anyone more famous than Hall of Fame quarterback Phil Simms Hall of Fame forward Chris Mullin … but wait … there was … it was Mike Birbiglia Joe Lacob, who had spent most of his day week apologizing for being someone’s ‘celebrity’ trading Monta Ellis. At this point three quarters of the audience remained standing and left the building began booing.
I don’t expect Lacob to enter the stand up comedy world. I would like him to take a lesson from Mike Birbiglia. Mike was able to look back on what was by all means a train wreck and laugh and use the experience to help his career. I’m hoping Lacob takes the same route and I’ll offer some simple advice.
Fans like winning
The book Wages of Wins had a few enlightening facts about fans. The short story is lots of people like sports (we call them sports fans) and that the stories that sports fans come back over and over just to see superstars aren’t true. The biggest driver for attendance is winning. Since taking control of the Golden State Warriors, Lacob has not produced a winning team. As such there is no reason the fans should be happy with the Warriors or their owners.
And while it might seem that the fans are upset over Monta Ellis, the fact is they are upset at losing. As David Lee pointed out the Warriors traded away a popular player in a move that will do nothing to improve the Warriors this year. A bad team makes a move that gives the fans an excuse to be upset. How was the result a surprise? That brings up my next point.
It’s about the players
Fans like winning and winning is a direct result of productive players. Right now the Warriors are a collection of mostly unproductive players. In Chris Mullin’s day the Warriors were a winning team and Chris Mullin was a productive player that scored points. It turns out that fans like all of these things. If Lacob was going to speak, it certainly should have happened before Mullin spoke. By retiring Mullin’s jersey Lacob showed he understood that fans like players that win. By speaking after Mullin, he showed he didn’t even understand basic concert ordering.
My personal hope is that Lacob will get the hold of owning an NBA team. To do this successfully will mean winning. While it’s a given this won’t happen this season, it can definitely happen in the future. The sweet and simple advice is to get good players and ignore inefficient scorers like Monta Ellis or players based fully around “potential” and hope like Kwame Brown. Doing this can mean a winning team and no more booing at large events with Warriors’ fans. Until then my advice is a little simpler, avoid large events with Warriors’ fans.