Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Billion Dollar Pimps, Million Dollar Hoes by Jersey Campbell

      We’re in the thick of one of the best World Series of recent memory, NCAA Football is kicking into gear, and NFL Football still dominates the first half hour of SportsCenter. Nobody really misses basketball.

                  Its day whatever of the NBA lockout, and the Billion Dollar Pimps are still bickering with the Million Dollar Hoes. The hoes want to keep more of their hard earned money and the pimps want to retain more of the money they’ve invested in their franchises. Everybody is slapping their egos around and crying foul play by the other side. Let’s toss aside notions of right and wrong and look at these selfish parties as they are. Referring to them as prostitutes may be insincere but that’s exactly what it is. Kinda.

                A ho goes out and conducts business for her pimp. This usually involves pleasuring men by performing sexual acts to them in exchange for a predetermined fee. At the end of the day, the ho must report their earnings back to the pimp, lest they want to get choked by Wayne Brady. The pimp takes a percentage of the day’s revenue and can give the rest back to the ho. Sometimes the pimp will clothe, feed and provide for the ho (sort of like room and board) and that would be taken into account when assessing the ho’s earnings. (If you’re wondering, I learned all of this from Butters Scotch.) Who is the ho performing her duties for? Is it the well-paying customer, or is it the pimp who owns that ass? More often than not, the ho is prostituting herself for her own benefit, as it is the only way she can earn a living. Nothing wrong with that. There’s a market for sex, and the pimps exploit that market. It’s the quintessential business model.

                A NBA player goes out and plays basketball three-four times a week. This usually involves pleasing fans by running up and down a court, sinking a few baskets, and performing athletic feats we all tried to do in our backyard when we were still in elementary school for a predetermined fee. At the end of the day, the NBA player receives his paycheck from the owner of the basketball team. The two parties negotiated a contract and they both are expected to honor their side of the deal. For the NBA player that can mean anything from doing post-game press conferences to shooting media promos for his basketball team. For the owner it means providing the player with his check. Who is the NBA player performing his duties for? Is it the well-paying customer, or the NBA owner who provides him with the funds necessary to father eight children from five baby mothers? More often than not, the NBA player is playing basketball in the sold-out area for their own benefit, as it is the only way he can earn a living. Nothing wrong with that. There’s a market for watching professional basketball, and the owners exploit that market. It’s the quintessential business model.

                You’ll never catch me calling Lebron James or Dwight Howard a ho, but their business are sure conducted similarly. The nature of what they do for their money is a tad bit different. The principles are identical.
We're gonna miss you Blake
                NBA fanatics are up in arms because the stalemate between the two sides means that our pleasure index will decrease dramatically without Blake Griffin tea-bagging European big men and Kobe staring menacingly at the officials because he got brushed by an opposing player.

                I trust most of us don’t solicit prostitutes too often, but let’s not act like this isn’t a huge business. You know why sex sells? Because we buy it, duh. Imagine what the outrage would be if the pimps and the hoes couldn’t agree on a revenue split and salary cap and they shut down the prostitution business. There would be a lot of people suffering because of that. Not just the customers but the customer’s wives, children, and anybody else who has the deal with them on a daily basis.

                NBA Players, and any other professional athletes, are paid more handsomely and their profession isn’t frowned down upon by society but make no mistake, they’re getting pimped. In fact a lot of us have gotten pimped in one way or another. Just because our pimps don’t tell us to give other people blow jobs doesn’t mean we’re not hoes. This is how businesses are run.

                I made the mistake of getting into the 60s era AMC drama seriesMad Mena couple of weeks ago… I’m already on season four. At the end of season two the advertising agency that the show revolves around, Sterling Cooper, is brought by a British agency. Then at the end of season three both the British agency and Sterling Cooper is brought by an even bigger agency. Everyone who works for Sterling Cooper is worried about their jobs. They’re all consumed by the merger and don’t know where that leaves them and their careers. They have no say in the matter; nobody consulted them and asked for their input. They’re just pawns on the chess board, disposable and replaceable. Nothing wrong with that. This is how businesses are run.

                When an NBA owner decides he/she wants to move his team to a new city, the players/employees have little say in the matter. Owners and general managers deal players in trades like commodities, that’s because they are commodities. They are viewed in terms of their value to the organization. They’re hoes thrown out on the street corner to attract business and make the pimps some mother fuckin’ money. The hoes get a good amount of money too of course; they are millionaires living extravagant lives.

                I’m not lambasting the system. For the most part it works and plenty of people are happy with how it works. Who’s to argue with a multi-billion dollar industry that can provide some religious like benefits to its customers/fans? It just so happens that every decade or so the collective bargaining agreement needs some reshuffling to ensure the financial stability of the players and the owners. No problem. But I don’t want the owners telling people that they, “Look out for the players’ best interest,” and , “Consider the players’ well being when making decisions,” because bullshit makes my brain tickle. Tickled brains are annoying.

                The pimps and the hoes will never see eye to eye, how could they? They operate from opposite ends of the spectrum. One is a financier and the other is a performer. The only compromise is a successful business where both parties benefit financially. It has little to do with basketball, and all to do with business. Both sides are being totally unreasonable and stubborn; and we, the fickle fans, are guilty as well.

The pimps who run the NBA are backed by the law, granted legitimacy by the state. I bet if you went to one of their, “Eight Steps to Building a Better Business,” seminars you could go out and become an owner of a Professional Ladies of the Night League franchise real quick. You put a pimp and an owner in the same room together and they’d have more in common then we’d like to admit.

The man tasked with putting the hoes in order
These people hold all the cards and don’t have to answer to anyone. Even when a fan base collectively wants an owner out (I’m looking at you James Dolan) there’s nothing they could do to force them to sell the team. The team and everything that team consists of- the players, coaches, maintenance staff, vendors, cheerleaders- belongs to the owner. If he/she wants to fire a successful general manager (I’m looking at you Robert Sarver) because they built a successful team with whatever little funds they were given, he/she can do that. If he/she wants to sit in the stands and heckle one of their own players (I’m looking at you Donald Sterling, although Baron Davis might have deserved it), they can do that too. They paid for the club and they’re entitled to run the team as they wish. I haven’t made a groundbreaking discovery, it’s a simple observation with a little bit of my own convoluted interpretation thrown in there.

If you haven’t seen the investigative documentary Food, Inc.I suggest you watch it before you eat your next meal, then you’ll know how I feel when I watch sports. There is a good chance that exposure to the processes by which food is mass produced will make you want to pray to earl. It’s quite disgusting. Watching that movie damn near made me tear up when I saw those animals being massacred and treated like dogs (wait, that made no sense). I was stunned that living beings could be mishandled in such a way that makes pre-2007 Michael Vick seem tame. And shit, the food they were producing tastes so friggin’ good.

The truth is fascinating and necessary, but it didn’t transform me into a vegan. I didn’t know what to think about the foods I was eating anymore. I was upset that they did such sufferable things to so many animals. But you know what? I have minimally changed my eating habits since watching "Food, Inc." due to my newfound consciousness- with a few exceptions. I can’t possibly pass up BBQed ribs. 

I’ll always be a sports fan, but getting a closer look at how professional and amateur sports leagues are run has appalled and angered me. When I began to discover how they conduct business it appalled me in the same way mass food production did.  Now I know about the ruthlessness inherent in business and how it subsequently found its way into sports. I know that teams and leagues don’t just show up in supermarket but are built through series of business deals and contracts with tv networks and corporate sponsors.

Just as I’ll always eat ribs and chicken and beef and oxtail, I’ll always watch sports. This won’t ruin the fan experience for me, so long as the bacon cheeseburger is rich in flavor. It all comes down to getting that nut at the end of the day for us right? So the pimps will keep on pimping, and we’ll keep on adding to their pockets by paying the hoes to pleasure our senses, regardless of our knowledge of the processes that allow us to enjoy their product.

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