This week we had the honor to interview again Dr. Ron Dick, associate professor of sports marketing at Duquesne University in the school of business. Ron also worked for 20 years in sports, including 15 years in the NBA with the Sixers and the Nets, and then four years in the NCAA.
?Show Notes: Through this interview, we touched on the MLB Lockout, the metaverse, the Russian/Ukraine situation, the metaverse, Aaron Rodgers, James Harden trade to the Net, Lebron James situation at the LA Lakers, and Tom Brady.
?Best Quotes: Here’s some of the key discussion points and best quotes from our conversation with Ron:
- On the MLB lockout:
- “One of the downsides if it is solved, when it is solved and eventually it will be, there’s going to be a rush of free agencies that we’ve never seen before. In November of ’21 they spent 1.7 billion dollars in player salary with the high-end players.. Well, there’s going to be so many deals and running to the doctor to get a physical. Which there’s some unsigned, really good players, star players in the league that are just kind of on hold. And then the other concern is from a physical standpoint, if we don’t have a five, six week training camp, if we try to have a three week training camp, how many guys are not really working out right now and not in mint condition. And then they’re going to be rushed and then that’s going to lead to injuries. So, there is a little bit of concern that on the player’s side”.
- “I don’t think the owners are going to budge (..) I think the players are going to probably have to agree to some of these terms, even though both sides have a great disdain for each other”.
- On the Russian/Ukraine situation:
- “The whole thing is a hot mess. It’s so unfortunate, but I think sports is by far our least concern right now. My thoughts and prayers go to the victims in Ukraine (..) And unlike 1980, 42 years ago, there’s a lot of things coming out of Russia that they’re not supportive of it. And I work with colleagues that are from Russia. They absolutely don’t think that they should be there. They have no place in Ukraine. So, it seems like it’s the isolated thoughts of one person in particular to do this”.
- On James Harden’s trade to the Sixers:
- “So, as far as pick the immediate present, I don’t see how the trade is bad for the Sixers. Simmons was not going to play there (..) They haven’t lost the game yet with Harden. I’m not as concerned about the option on the back end. He’s only remotely interested in playing defense (..)]. But I don’t see how you can give a person that kind of money at that age. But if they would win the championship this year, or at least get to the NBA finals as Allen Iverson did in 2001, the energy level in that city (Philadelphia) would just be off the rails”.
- “I definitely think the Sixers can reach the NBA finals this year. And if you can get to finals, you should be able to win it. So, Embiid is playing out of his mind. He could be the most valuable player in the entire league. And now you’re teaming him, especially offensively, with a player. And they have a third player named Maxey, who was a great draft pick and came out of Kentucky. And he’s really blossoming into a star young guard also. So yeah, I think they have the firepower to do it”.
- On Lebron James’s situation with the LA Lakers:
- “My first take is that whole organization needs to stop blaming two people for their failures. And those two people are Frank Vogel, who’s a Wildwood, New Jersey guy. And he’s just as smart today as he was when they won the championship in the bubble back in 2020. And they have to stop blaming the king of the triple doubles with Oscar Robertson, and that’s Westbrook. It’s not their fault that they are losing. LeBron James not only is the star player. He can call any play he wants and he can be even the general manager. He handpicked these guys. He handpicked Westbrook. He handpicked Davis, who I was a little surprised he was put in the top 75 players of all time in Cleveland. That was a little bit of a reach. Anthony Davis, who was a complete China doll and never plays. He’s constantly injured. He’s the Sam Bowie of today’s players. And LeBron needs to take responsibility for that. But of course he’s not”.
- On Lebron James’ plan to play with his son:
- “Well, at first blush you’d say that this is crazy. The kid can barely play in college, if at all. And I don’t know how good or bad he is, but he’s not his dad. He’s very small. And you say, well, that really is inappropriate (..) So, LeBron wants to use his equity and his brand name to pull up his son. And if some team is crazy enough to say, Hey, we get LeBron, we have to deal with his kid, somebody will pay that price and I’d take a wild guess, but I’ll say, I think the Cleveland Cavaliers would do that”.
- On Aaron Rodgers situation with the Packers (NFL):
- “A year ago we were questioning how Aaron Rodgers was handled. Should the Packers have drafted this traded up and drafted a quarterback Love, who was only well known it seems to be by the Packers. And they didn’t even have a conversation with a franchise quarterback like Aaron Rodgers. And he played that up to the hill. Here we are 12 months later and Aaron has done some very strange things. He’s estranged from his entire family, not just one member, but everybody. He says things that get people talking about him. He seems to really crave that. I’m sure he is a bright guy. He grew up in the San Francisco area. So, would he want to come back and play for the 49ers?”
- “That would be a possibility (for Rodgers to go to the 49ers) (..) Now it’s like the players are really starting to feel their power and similar to the NBA. And I think if he identified a team he wanted to go to, there’s some rumors the Steelers now need a quarterback and they already have a great defense. So, maybe that would be a good fit. And he’ll float something out in the media to tantalize everybody’s taste buds. So, I don’t know what he’s going to do. I don’t even think he knows what he wants to do, but he loves what people like us are talking about him and about that situation”.
- On Tom Brady:
- “Tom Brady expressed interest in the 49ers. I’ve heard that too. Because as a child, that was his team growing up. But I don’t know that the 49ers are quite as equipped to get to the Super Bowl, though they had a great year, as the Tampa Bay is. So, will Brady come out of retirement? Your guess is as good as mine. But he is coming off a great year. And I don’t know that I could go out like that.”.