New Age Athletes As Social Entrepreneurs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roger M. Groves   

11 Wake Forest J. Bus. & Intell. Prop. L. 213 While professional athletes in this country’s four most popular professional leagues have significant player salaries, this article focuses on the National Basketball Association (“NBA”). The NBA players are Exhibit A for an unrealized opportunity. They comprise a group of the world’s most talented employees for this particular industry who, by virtue of both wealth and cultural connectivity, have an extraordinary “giving back” impact on urban America. If the vast majority of those players would establish charitable foundations and pool their funds, they could do something unprecedented— they could have transformative effects on entire communities. Such like-minded players can be termed “New Age Athletes.”

The Demonization of LeBron James PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roger M. Groves   

“If LeBron were an IPO, I’d buy it … At 21, I wasn’t remotely as mature as LeBron.” — Warren Buffett

Now that the NBA season is over, I have taken a moment to reflect. The lasting memory is not of the glorious success of the Mavs. It is of LeBron James and the season-long media/fan obsession with seeing him and the Heat fail. As one weary sportscaster put it, “We discuss LeBron as if he was our media Facebook status.”

It occurred to me that if all I knew about someone is that he announced a job move and staged it so that $2 million in cash would be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of America, my first reaction would probably be, “Now there’s a person with media savvy who is also a good person at heart.”  Add the fact that the donated cash was virtually all the advertising revenue from that single event and I would feel reassured it was not just a ploy for disguised greed.  If I further discovered that another $1 million in computers and Nike equipment was spread among eight Boys and Girls clubs – most notably Akron, and Cleveland, I would feel even better about the donor who gave back something significant – not just empty words and a wave – to the cities he was raised and was employed.


Pac 12 Trumps Rivals In The TV Race, But Not Without Costs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roger Groves   

Why do you think the Pac 12 Conference reached outside of traditional circles to select a commissioner? They know college football is America’s most popular sport next to the NFL, more so than pro basketball, pro baseball, and pro hockey. So why pick a Harvard tennis player? Perhaps it was because even if that tennis player (Larry Scott) never took a snap under center, he served an ace corporate sponsorship as chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association. It apparently didn’t matter if he knew X’s and O’s, as long as he could transform brand X to brand $. And he appears to be well on his way. The conference he took over had double faulted in the television arms race. He added Utah and Colorado, created a conference championship, packaged the Pac 12 brand in a TV network, and sold it to various cable providers. Football’s nearly forgotten coast conference is thereby experiencing a talismanic jump to national relevance.

What Would Happen if Casey Anthony was an Athlete? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roger M. Groves   

The court of public opinion found Casey Anthony (“C.A.”) guilty of murdering her own two year old daughter. Twelve jurors disagreed. The former apparently concluded that being a proven liar makes you a murderer – that doing things no rational mother would do – i.e. not reporting the child missing for 31 days, partying the day after, is enough to say she did it, even if the prosecution did not prove how she died, why she died, and what caused her death beyond a reasonable doubt. Add to the dysfunctional-meter that the father of the child is unknown, C .A.’s own father was accused of sexually abusing her; and the mother was caught lying about performing searches on chloroform. In the public court, those transgressions and her lying disfunctionalism would be enough to send C.A. to her death. The failure of the prosecutor’s expert to use accepted medical science was secondary.

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