NBA’s highest-priced seats are ticking time bombs

Alan Greenwood

There are few lines in the financial sand that big-league sports franchises won’t obliterate. None are more dangerous than the NBA’s now standard practice of selling seats on teams’ benches.

They are not advertised as such. There is a safety zone between the end of the bench and the beginning of the uber-rich wannabes who are willing to shell out thousands of dollars so they might brag to their friends.

“I was sitting right next to (any player) and when he toweled off some of his sweat caught me in the eye!”

What a priceless moment!

No surprisingly, celebrities scoop up these seats if for no other reason than to get some quality face time on the big screens in the arenas and smaller screens from coast to coast. But where once Jack Nickelson barked at referees and Spike Lee taunted Knicks’ opponents, we now see the likes of a rapper named Drake trying mightily to put himself in the game.

A Toronto Raptors fan, Drake is stationed in the row directly behind the home team’s bench. Now that NBA teams feature one assistant coach for every player on the roster, those second-row seats can truly be categorized as bench locations.

Indeed, Drake gained fame (or infamy) by giving Raptors coach Nick Nurse shoulder rubs during games.

After Toronto’s win Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Drake unloaded all his residual trash talk on Golden State’s Draymond Green, who barked right back at the well-heeled celebrity cur. Asked later about the confrontation, Green shrugged it off.

There was no pushing or shoving, Green said, refusing to dignify Drake’s babble as some sort of scuffle.

Had an actual scuffle occurred, it is fair to assume that Drake’s lawyer would be filing a lawsuit claiming his loud-mouthed, senseless client had been brutalized.

It is stunning to realize that the NBA has been selling bench seats to fans for years without worrying about a heckler going one shriek too far. When something beyond a rhetorical spitting match happens, it will be enlightening to see how the NBA shrugs it off.

TIME TRAVEL: June 2, 1944 – “apitalizing on eight Nashua errors, the Crimson of Concord High turned back the Purple diamond aggregation 6-3 yesterday afternoon at the Capitol City.

“Roland Bossie, pitching the distance on the mound for Nashua, gave up but four hits while striking out 13 and issuing eight bases on balls. Altogether the Nashua batters whacked out eight safe hits including a double by Roger Simpson.”

AND FINALLY: With high school tournaments unfolding it brings to mind the great drawback of single-elimination baseball tournaments.

Any competition in which one man – in baseball, the pitcher -has an oversized say in what happens is not designed to determine the best team.

A lesser team with one hot pitcher eliminate a season’s worth of work.

A double-elimination tournament is a far better indicator for baseball.

Unfortunately, time doesn’t allow it, unless the tourney field is lopped in half. And that will not happen.

Contact Alan Greenwood at 594-1248, or @tTelegraph_AlanG.