As we daily sit here amongst ourselves rosterbating on how to beat the Heat, it's ironic how close we were to becoming the Miami Pacers back in 1977. Thirty five years has since passed, and not only was it never done before by a professional franchise, but hasn't been done since, even though it was successful.
I was apart of that telethon. I was the former voice of the Indy Daredevils soccer team, and was working for the old WIFE. Nancy Leonard called me up, and we met up in Carmel at the old Bobby Leonard's Scoreboard restaurant at 116th street and Keystone along with numerous other voices from Indy Sports. Chet Coppock, Paul Page, David Letterman, Jerry Baker were just some of participants whom helped formulate the blueprint for the telethon. Coppock originally thought it was hoa, but agreed to be the principle emcee as he stated " But being the shameless, self-promoter that I am, I knew it was a golden opportunity to put myself in the forefront as one of the emcees" Those that remember Chet or knew him, know that his ego was always as big as his talent.
Living in Reno, I trek over every year to Sacramento to see the Pacers. Small markets have a major problem when franchise owners decide on a whim to move/sell/relocate a franchise. Citizens in these markets personally invest their hard earned money, in an effort to support their franchise. Small businesses often purchase season tickets (and often pressured directly to do so by these franchises) to show their support.
These aren't the Maloof Kings. If they were named accordingly, the have the right to do as they wish. However, that's not the name. Their name contains the word "Sacramento" which therefore implies that it belongs to the city. Now I'm not a lawyer, but I have never seen a suit filed to stop a move, based on the implied ownership of that region. They made hundreds of millions of dollars profiting off the word Sacramento!
Indianpolis mayor William Hudnut was a vocal part of the Telethon. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson should strongly consider organizing such, and allow the citizens of Sacramento, the opportunity to truly be heard in a way that makes it impossible for the NBA board of directors to uphold the sale of the team. Couple this with a new ownership group, and once and for all we may see an end to owners vacating cities purely for their own financial gain.
Sacramentonians could pledge money in various increments with the following options and conditions:
- All money will go into an escrow account
- Donors have the option to use such funding for future ticket sales
- Donors have the option to earmark their funds for charitable causes in lieu of tickets.
- In the event that Kings are moved to Seattle, all funds will be refunded unless donor wishes for it to go to charity.
A telethon is a win-win situation for residents of Sacramento as outlined above. It allows the fans to heard in a way that only these greedy owners understand...money! If successful, the city saves their beloved Kings. Thousands of jobs are saved, and additional ones are created. Should it fail, then area charities get much needed donations and citizens know that they and the city did everything in their power to save their franchise.
To Learn more about the Pacers Telethon, here are some links to history. I highly suggest the first link for an incredible account of the historical event.
It's interesting how Miami felt it was getting shafted. Since Lebron tweeted about the screwage, maybe he would be the first to pony up a donation!