Short and simple since I'm rushing, but the regular season premiere has come and gone. The spite is strong in the Orlando community, but there were some creative complaints back in the day.
The customers always write ...
Larry: Your Tim Povtak reported that the NBA players are engaged in preliminary talks of forming a loosely organized basketball league for the players. From a fan's perspective, I think that it would be quite entertaining to see the players actually create and manage a league of their own - the NBPA.
What a great spectator sport that would be! Imagine watching Shaq, Patrick, Sir Charles, et al., attempting to play both sides of the table and ``out-zillionaire'' each other! The games (no officials required) could be broadcast on a player-owned TV channel, and the executive staff meetings could be carried by Comedy Central.
Dennis Rodman would wrestle the Mad Mauler during halftime!
Endless entertainment opportunities! Piles of money! Let's go for it! Al Ingalls, Orlando
Al: Indeed, a player-run NBA would be as much fun to cover as that old, chaotic football league in which Jack Pardee and his assistant coaches had to bring toilet paper from home and the players voted daily whether to play. Except I'd never get to cover it. All scholars are in agreement that the media would be banned. Large thugs with low foreheads would be stationed at every entrance to turn away all reporters, process servers and paternity DNA technicians. Games would be played in front of only women throwing phone numbers on the court, and anyone asking for an autograph would be locked in a room with Latrell Sprewell.
Mr. Guest: Your recent column on the NBA impasse hit the 7-foot nail square on the players' heads, and drove it through each and every one who agrees with Patrick Ewing that the players ``can't survive'' with a hard salary cap. What a bunch of fools! This strike should provide a great backlash to basketball and have fans enjoying watching players dunk $$ into the garbage. Kudos! Tomoko Imai, Sacramento, Calif.
Tomoko: If the players played in construction helmets bearing logos of corporations that paid them for the advertising, would that be a, uh, um ... hard salary cap? (Sorry 'bout that.)
Dear Mr. Guest: As a Magic season ticket-holder with little sympathy for avaricious owners or clueless players, I was not at all upset about not having to pay ridiculous prices for all those (canceled) preseason games. Who really enjoys watching Penny and Horace sitting on the bench? But I do have a problem, as a taxpayer. How can the owners lock our players and then refuse to pay the O-rena for canceled games? With only a couple of weeks' notice, there's no time to find new groups to rent the space. Why should we taxpayers pick up the tab? Maurice O'Sullivan, Orlando
O'Taxed: We pick up the tab because the Magic were given a sweetheart lease - the result of compromising photos of Mayor Hood. Just joking, Glenda. However, except for former councilman Jeff Clark, the city did, indeed, mostly fall over backward when the NBA came to town to save us from the eternal despair of minor-leagueness.
Dear Larry: The NBA players say the owners make too much, and they will never agree to a hard salary cap. The NBA owners say the players make too much, and a hard cap is necessary to survive. In situations such as this in which opposing parties have diametrically opposed views, the only way a settlement is possible is if it both sides can ``save face.''
Why don't both sides give up substantial monies and earmark them for meaningful reductions in ticket prices on a continuing basis? It's great PR - in short, a win-win situation for the owners, players, league and fans. Carter Bradford, Winter Park
Carter: The players and owners take LESS??!! A ticket price REDUCTION????!!!! What blasphemy!! Those officers with the bullhorns now surrounding your house are narcs I have dispatched to give you an emergency urinalysis.