The NBA Strike: Billionaires VS. Millionaires – Bad PR All Around

In one of my favourite movies ever, A Bronx Tale, a Mafia Don says to a young man who is upset Mickey Mantle had cried:

Mickey Mantle? That’s what you’re upset about? Mantle makes $100 thousand a year. How much does your father make? “…If your dad needs money, go Ask Mickey Mantle. See what happens. Mickey Mantle don’t care about you. Why care about him? Nobody cares.”

The boy in narration says “From that day on, I never felt the same about the Yankees,”, and went home and tried to throw away his baseball cards because a professional athlete wouldn’t ever pay his rent. That scene forever changed my view on sports – I couldn’t understand being so involved with something, or someone who didn’t care about me at all.

Now that the NBA is on strike, one wonders how the public will react to yet another high-profile fight of millionaires versus billionaires. As it stands already, attending games is unaffordable for many, and now that the first few weeks are suspended, how can either side feel this is a Public Relations battle they can win ?

Pure athletic programs and playing ball in the backyard has long given way to big business, poor conduct, greed, sky-high ticket pricing and all around bad behaviour. The world of professional sports today holds few heroes or sympathetic figures, and noone’s PR brand will benefit from this strike.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a top 25 PR agency and author of just released PR book “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations”.


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