Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bad Economy Forces NBA To Charge For Foul Shots

New York, NY (Oct. 28) - Citing itself as another victim of a sluggish economy, the NBA announced yesterday that, effective immediately, it would be eliminating free throws.

Starting with tonight's regular season openers, players whistled for fouls will be charged a "nominal" fee for every foul shot taken as a result of their infractions.

"The NBA hasn't charged for foul shots since the league's inception in 1946," said league spokesman Mark Harrison. "We think that's pretty good. But these trying economic times have begun to effect us as a league, too. That means looking for other revenue streams."

The free throw has been a basketball institution since the sport's beginning. Harrison said he appreciates the shot's history, but "that and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee. Correction: that and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee, nowadays."

Under the plan, hastily arranged amidst the release of the league's third quarter numbers, which showed a severe lack of basketball-generated revenue during games -- that is, revenue not tied to concession or beer sales -- every foul shot awarded before a team is in the penalty situation will come at a cost of $2.00 to the fouling player. After the penalty (fifth team foul in a quarter and beyond), each foul shot will cost the offending player $3.00.

Harrison said this would add anywhere from $50-60 into the NBA coffers per game. Multiplied by the 1,230 games played in a season league-wide, this amounts to anywhere between $61,500 and $73,800 per season.

"That's some change," Harrison said.

When reporters challenged him, wondering how $70,000 could make much of a difference in a league whose players salaries are in the millions, Harrison snapped, "Oh, so I guess you're all economy experts now, huh? Why don't you fix this financial crisis, economy experts?"

Early response to the elimination of free throws has been mixed.

"That's fine, but what about the guys on the bench?," wondered little-used Detroit Pistons guard Arron Afflalo. "We don't have the dough that the big dogs do, and we're the ones who commit the most fouls, per minute played. This sounds like trickle-down economics at its worst."

But Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James had another viewpoint.

"I'm tired of getting hacked all the time, man. Maybe now, those guys will think twice about bothering me as I go in for a layup," he said. James also scoffed at the notion that the fee is too small to make a difference. "NBA players are cheap. Trust me," he said.

The plan will also include cash registers on press row, complete with debit/credit card machines for convenient, on-site payment of fouling fees. To cushion the blow, Harrison said, each player will be allowed to choose which funny cartoon character appears on his Foul Card, ranging from Scooby Doo to Porky Pig. Fees will be collected after every quarter, with ball boys being assigned the additional duty of swiping all players' cards through the machines.

Harrison said that, depending on the success of the new fouling fees program, the league might consider charging TV analyst Bill Walton for every inane, self-contradicting thought that spills out of his mouth. Harrison said that such a move is attractive because of its "unlimited potential as a moneymaker."

No comments: