🔥Upside Chat: Dr Ron Dick, Duquesne University, Ex NBA/NCAA exec on Kevin Durant, Charles Barkley, Brittney Griner, Draymond Green, The Rock & the XFL, the NIL, and more.
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 Kevin Durant trade situation, the 76ers’ plan to build a new arena worth $1.3B. We also discussed the NBA's record $10B season, Brittney Griner, Charles Barkley, Draymond Green, the Rock & the XFL, the NFL, the NIL, and the trading value of European soccer players that has dropped significantly in the past year.
🚀Best Quotes: Here’s some of the key discussion points and best quotes from our conversation with Ron:
On the Kevin Durant trade situation:
“So when I hear people say that he's at a disadvantage or he doesn't have a lot of leverage. Boy! I wish I had that kind of leverage. So I think he's gonna be ok (..) And I don't quite understand. He seems to be a very intelligent, sensitive young man and he gets criticized more than almost any players in the NBA minus LeBron James. And LeBron brings some of that on himself. So I'm not really sure why. I mean, Durant is just one of the greatest players of all time”.
“So I don't know what he needs to prove at this point, but as these players get older and they already have their money kind of stocked, I have a feeling that it's just like, “I want to go to a team that is good and close to getting over the hump. And certainly the Boston Celtics are that, and the Miami Heat or the Phoenix Suns are that too. So It will be somebody that was over 0.50 last year. I think Miami or Boston sound like a good idea. I think those teams are willing to make it work”.
On Draymond Green asking for a max contract with the Warriors:
“I would never give him a max contract at this age. His second contract coming out of Michigan state was the one where he made a mistake, not the first one. And you can't give that kind of money to an aging player. Now I know he is kind of the leader and the enforcer, but we saw enough things happen in the last year that makes me not want to give him that kind of money”.
“So is he a Hall of Fame player? I don't know. That's to be determined, but he has been a major contributing player on that team, but his age kind of scares me off a little bit”.
On the NBA surpassing $10 billion in revenue for the first time this season:
“I think the growth was driven by the growth internationally. I think we got hurt with the whole tweeting things from the General Manager of the Houston Rockets where we lost a lot of that Chinese money. And then I think the feelings are a little bit better now, possibly”.
“So some of that money came back. They stopped broadcasting games in China where there's 1.4 billion people (..) So I have to believe that it was a factor. Europe was another factor, and South America, and Africa, like all the continents, are showing more NBA games and creating more interest, which then leads to more hat and shirts being sold there, etc.”.
On the Brittney Griner situation in Russia:
“I think it's very tragic. Whenever we travel to any other countries, we have to play by their rules (…) And she didn't know that it was in her bag is what she's claiming. You know, we all got it. But we have to be careful whenever we travel to a country and what we're bringing into their country. I hope it gets resolved soon. It feels like she's a pawn in this situation and she needs to get back to the United States and it’s my understanding that the Biden administration is also trying to negotiate someone else who was captured over there”.
“It's like, come on, let's just make a deal and get this thing over with. My greatest fear for her is that they actually find her guilty and they sentence her five years in prison. That would be awful. This crime and the punishment don't fit the crime in my opinion”.
On who is going to win the Super Bowl this season:
“Well Tampa Bay just signed a Hall of Fame wide receiver, who says he's 100% healthy although he is a little bit older, but he is a great player from Alabama and played with the Atlanta Falcons. His name is Julio Jones. And everybody wants to play with Tom Brady at the Twilight of their career (..) So I wouldn't bet against Tampa Bay, and of course, Green Bay is always among the favorites although somehow they tend to find a way to not make it. And everybody's jumping on the Cowboys”.
“I'd also love to see the Steelers and the Eagles in the Super Bowl this year. That would be my wish of course. And I think the NFL is always unpredictable. It's the one league where at the beginning of the season, it's wide open. It is the greatest league for parity and that's all by design. They even designed the schedule so that the best NFL teams, the teams with the best record last year, play the other best teams with the best record”.
On The Rock and the XFL and his goal to compete against the NFL:
“It does seem like anything The Rock touches turns into gold, but I'll tell you this: This is going to be an uphill battle (..) But then again The Rock has a way of networking himself and the guy does a heck of a lot more than just movies and maybe he can turn it around, but I've seen a lot of very smart people fail at that”.
“I mean, it's a tough one, but you never know. I think The Rock is so popular and he's got obviously lots of connection. The fact that he signed a deal with ESPN Disney that's The Rock. I think that's pretty clear. He made that happen. So it will be interesting to watch, but I don't think they've got a shot at competing against the NFL, but the XFL could that be a pretty fun league to watch”.
On what we have learned with the NIL and how that impacts the NCAA:
“We learned that it's still evolving (..) The student athletes are all going to be able to transfer without any hassle from their current team (..) As a student athlete, you're not going to have a big NIL deal unless you are getting playing time. So that's what the they transfer for, especially the male athletes”.
“So I think the NIL is here to stay. It's still evolving. And I'm happy for the players. I know so many of them think they're going to play in the NFL and play at the next level, but the studies have shown that less than 1%-2% really do get to play professionally and make real money. So that to me it does not tarnish the fact or marginalized the fact that they are making money on the college campus for those universities during their three or four years of playing. So I think they should be compensated for that”.
On Charles Barkley who he worked with for many years at the Sixers:
“So I worked for years with Charles and the way you see him on TNT is the way he was on the bus rides to New Jersey, Washington, or New York. We drafted him number five overall. He was in the Jordan draft in 1984 (...) The way you see him today on TV is not an act. That's just who he is. He's just a fun, loving guy and he loves living life. He breaks people's chops. I mean, he's from Alabama, but boy, did he get adopted quickly here in Philadelphia?
“And he is just one of the greatest power forwards of all time. And it seems like he has a real passion for golf and that comes through when he is commentating”.
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