[floatl]http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/3735/stern01290612pv.jpg[/floatl]Forbes recently ran their annual team franchise values. They note that franchise values have jumped up 9% in the last year. Consider this - the average NBA team is now worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $326 million smackers. Which begs the question, just what in the world is an average team? I went looking for one. I checked everywhere, I went west and I came back east. Finally I settled on Milwaukee. They’re playing .577 ball as I peck away at this, they’re 15-11 and they’re right smack in the middle of our central division in the 3 spot. Doesn’t get any more average than that, (plus it IS Milwaukee). So the next step was to look at their payroll, make sure it’s average too. Sure enough they're average. They're number 15 in salary (out of 30) and are paying out just a tiny bit more than $60M, which keeps them just a cat whisker under the hard cap. 18 teams are under the hard cap with Detroit two slots below the Bucks holding down the #17 spot. The Bucks have one guy making 12M a year in Michael Redd and the next nearest is Jamaal Magloire at 8.3M. They play at the Bradley Center which opened in 1988 and holds 18,600 cheesehead fans. They sit 17,513 per game which ranks them 12th. They’ve been in the league since 1968. They’ve appeared in the playoffs 24 times and won 1 title in 37 years, that was back in 70/71 when Kareem was still on their roster with Oscar Robertson and Dick Cunningham. How in blazes are they worth $326 million? I mean I get it with the Pistons, they’re a real basketball team, but the Bucks? C’mon. Are the players of today that much more fundamentally sound than yesteryears? Has Earths magnetic field flipped? Are we tapping that mega-Chinese brotherhood of b-ball fanaticism? Nope, it’s all about “Stern Measures”. He measured the league 20 years ago and recognized there was massive room for growth. Two decades ago the average NBA franchise was valued at $15 million. Consider that exactly two decades ago (85/86) an entire teams salary cap was $4.23 million and as recently as ten years ago (95/96) it was $23 million. Today it’s $61 million. How that happened has little to do with the games fundamentals and whole lot more to do with the "game-masters" fundamentals. Gotta give the props to David Stern, and the crowd goes wild, boo-hiss :P [floatr]http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/1130/stern01290622ea.jpg[/floatr]No - it’s true. The bi-focaled, blow-dried one should be getting Christmas cards from every player in today’s NBA. His marketing of the "product" is so far over the top it’s hard to get your keyboard around it. He took what was $10 million in NBA licensed product and grew it in excess of $3 BILLION. He wagged his finger at league revenues of $118 million when he arrived in 1984, growing them to almost $800 million. If life was discovered on Mars tomorrow, Stern would be signing NBA broadcast rights with them by next year’s tip-off. Suffice it to say you don’t want this guy "noodling" around in your house while you’re away. He’d have sold off all the rights to your (ahem) wedding night videos before you get back from dinner. But what horse did this cat ride? Who really wore the saddle? It was Michael Jordan. Stern saddled that horse with the league and ran full tilt toward the horizon. You can throw in Magic and the "goofy one" – Bird, but Jordan was the engine. Of course you can’t create the good guy, the league ICON, without providing the bad guys or should I say the "bad boys" (you have to some "ying" with your "yang"). Here comes Zeke, Lamb, Mahorn and Rodman. Ready, willing and able to act as foils, even if they didn’t know at the time they were living in Sterns Hollywood set. Stern polished, homogenized, shrink wrapped, crated and shipped the goods with the astute eye of a camel trader at the last oasis. He took those colluding owners (my un-official personal opinion) by their collective necks and said "hang on we’re going for a ride". He took teams that were worth 15 million and grew their net worth 20 times over. He has people calling the play-by-play in 40 different tongues. He has my DTV package being beamed into over 200 different countries, first they watch Gilligan then they watch Shaq. Or maybe it’s Shaq then Gilligan. Either way the message is the same, the NBA being delivered has his finger prints all over it. [floatl]http://img36.imageshack.us/img36/8566/sheed01290612fw.jpg[/floatl]That’s why he should leave Sheed alone. That’s all I’m saying. Dave, you don’t need Sheeds money. Those Malaysian guys are sending you bricks of bundled cash. Leave the Sheed. Stop "teeing" up my main man. You got your other dope to draw the green from, let my people go! Oops, I digress! So, let’s put our hands together for "the man". The guy that made tickets so expensive I’m selling my blood for plasma so I can buy a dog and a beer at the game. The guy that made today’s Milwaukee Bucks franchise worth $326 million. No wonder the owners all got behind the dress code. Respect the biz. Cause he’s the dope, the dopemaster, the dopiest of them all... And I like good dope. Your comments?