OK, so last night I bought a sports franchise for $3.7 billion dollars. I was feeling a lot of different emotions and I was in a dark place, but I don’t regret the decision, and I stand by it 100%. The team is the Golden State Warriors, who are a part of the NBA.
I have been told they play basketball.
At our first practice I introduced myself to the players. While I was watching their drills, I got a little angry at how they were playing with basketballs and such. Some curse words were thrown. I banned all basketballs, but then I was walking around the offices upstairs, and I looked down on the courts and saw that they were doing the same drills with tennis balls. So I banned those too, and any spherical objects in the building. One of my executive assistants was found using a stress ball at their desk, and I asked them to resign immediately to save face. All toilet paper has been ripped off the rolls and stacked high like sheets of paper, because cylindrical shapes are a little too close to becoming spherical for my liking.
Most of my staff has come around to my thinking, but the coach, Steve Kerr, is still very hesitant.
“I’m a basketball coach. I won five championships as a player with the Bulls and the Spurs, and three coaching this team. You can’t ask me to do what you’re asking me to do,” he said.
I didn’t understand any of the history he was talking about. But I nodded along and squinted my eyes, which is what you’re supposed to do when you’re rich and powerful and want to pretend like you know something you don’t.
“I know you have pride in what you do. I get it. But I own the Golden State Terriers now–”
“–and what I say goes.”
“What you’re doing is not basketball.”
“See! You get it!”
The next day I replaced him with Jerry, who is a friend of mine. Jerry turns eighty-six next month, and there’s been a nerve that’s been bothering him in his left hip, so he has to sit down on one of those inflatable donuts on the sidelines. It takes Jerry about ten minutes to inflate it, because he’s eighty-six, and it’s become a real pre-game spectacle. His face gets red and he’ll come very close to passing out while he’s blowing, and he’ll angrily refuse help even as he edges closer to what looks like certain death. People come early just to see it.
I’ve been told our record last year was 57 – 25, and the team won something called the Western Conference. Currently, we are a third of the way through the season, and we have won zero games. Initially, reporters were asking the players and the staff about the losses, which upset me. I would go barreling into press conferences screaming “That’s. Not. THE POINT!” at the top of my lungs.
But now they’re asking about the manner in which the team loses.
For most of the game, while the other team is scoring, our players solemnly wander the court, as if lost in a strange land and without hope. They do not play defense, they do not take a shot. Never. I watch the games like a hawk from my box seat, and if a player even attempts a shot, I go running down to the sidelines, and I tell Jerry to earn his pay and get that player off the court.
When the game is over and we eventually lose, this is where the players’ creativity really shines. They are free to choose between collapsing to their knees and raising their arms towards the heavens, gnashing their teeth and screaming, “It’s not fair! It’s not just fair!”, or shedding a single tear while looking into the middle-distance. Draymond Green finally caught on to the post-game ritual, and the other night after it was clear we would lose to the Atlanta Hawks, he curled up on the sideline with a blanket and ate ice cream for the whole fourth quarter.
Recently, it has come to my attention that while NBA games are available in Southern Asia, they aren’t widely available due to the popularity of something called Futbol. Therefore, we wouldn’t be broadcast very often in places like India, or, let’s say, Peshawar, Pakistan. To change this, I dug up some dirt on the deputy commissioner of the league. I told him that if he didn’t put pressure on ESPN and ABC to more regularly broadcast our games in that region, that I was going to publish, and heavily market, a one act play he wrote in his sensitive youth about meeting a girl in the Azores, but never being able to tell her he loved her before they parted. That did the trick.
Initially, the players would talk at the press conferences and in interviews about how their shooting, defense, free throws, and just about all other technical aspects of their game needed to improve. Now, they’re starting to get the gist of things. I believe the change is all down to my incentive system.
Just the other day, my starting point guard, Steph Curry, was at a post-game press conference, and said the following:
“What has been separated from us may never return. We are awash in a sea of sadness, all of us. The more we fight the current, the deeper we drown. Was it ever good? Did we ever laugh, cry, sing? If so, then those memories are long dead, warped by a sudden, yet inevitable betrayal, a betrayal not of deviousness, but of ambition. When we cast aside those we love, do we not cast aside ourselves as well?”
Before he was done, he looked directly into the camera, and shook his head.
“All hope is lost.”
On his way out of the press conference, he knocked a microphone with a spherical grill out of a reporter’s hands because ball shaped objects weren’t allowed in the building.
There was a $50,000 bonus check waiting for him when he got back to the locker room.
When we go on roadtrips, I demand the players wear all black and keep their heads bowed, as if they were paying respects to the dead. I had the word “Despair” painted across the team’s charter jet. At every airport we leave from, I’ve paid a group of women in veils to begin wailing in agony the moment they depart.
The other day, our shooting guard, Klay Thompson, came into my office.
“I would like to be traded,” he said.
“But why, Klay?”
“We’re losing every game. I haven’t shot a basketball in months. The other night you had me crawling across the court on my hands and knees screaming, ‘What did I do to deserve this!?’and honestly it made me think,‘What did I do to deserve this?’”
I could have given him the old, “You’re my employee, do as I say” routine, but I’ve grown. I’ve matured into someone who respects the feelings of others, because I, too, can change.
“Klay, I know you’re a professional. But what if I told you that there are more important things than basketball?” I said.
He came in closer, and I explained exactly what those things were. By the time my assistant came in to show me the mock ups of our new team t-shirts with the logo “Save Them? Save Me!”, Klay and I were tightly embracing one another, weeping openly and courageously, the way I imagine men do in wartime situations.
When Klay was heading for the door, he was telling me to hang tough, that he’d been through the exact same thing, and to never let the bastards get you down. We now regularly get coffee together at Farley’s around the corner, right around 3 p.m.
The noise from the media has become deafening. One reporter, after asking me for what seemed like the fiftieth time why I was doing this, and after I responded with my now canned “Because why not, bitch?”, rolled down his sleeves and challenged me to a fist fight. On the morning sports show First Take, Max Kellerman told me, on live television, to go fuck myself, while Stephen A. Smith just screamed for an entire seven minute segment, the kind of rageful, virulent scream that would raise Cthulhu from the depths.
Warriors fans, though very loyal under normal circumstances, have become so upset, so personally vilified by what I have done to the team, that they have formed a paramilitary group called “The Resistance” and are actively trying to assassinate me. My viewing box is now bulletproof, and any entry into it requires biometric authentication. Recently, a resistance member dressed as a waiter managed to sneak in with a pistol. My bodyguards stopped them right before they could finish screaming “Sic Semper Tyrannis!”.
Then I heard that you were coming back yesterday, and I immediately sold the team for quite a sizable loss. My accountants are acting quite petulant, and will not return my calls. When I saw them all out together at a dinner (which I was not invited to by the way) they did not say hello and were whispering to each other when I walked by. I think it was about me.
I gave everyone on staff huge bonuses. At my farewell party that I threw for myself, I told them all to not cry, even though it was only Klay and I doing the weeping. I have been labeled as either the worst owner in the history of not only sports but of any private endeavour, or the greatest performance artist the world has ever known.
You see through this and know I am neither.
When I met you at the airport after you got off your Pakistan International Airlines flight, I will admit I felt a little silly about the whole thing, and I was almost hoping that you hadn’t seen any of the games. But you had, of course, the moment you got wifi again in Frankfurt. And you let me have it, right there at the arrivals gate, as to how silly I was being. I had the car and a driver waiting, but you took the metro back, and you haven’t returned any of my calls. You called me childish and told me that I haven’t changed, that I’m the exact same asshole I was when you left. But I know that’s not true. I’m a better man. Just ask Klay.
I missed you, Amina, and I wanted you to know that I missed you, and it got a little out of hand, and I’m sorry. Please call me back. I’ll do anything.
There’s an offer I’m about to send out for the New England Patriots of the NFL. My pen is hovering over the signature line.
I have been told they play football.