Another strong-arm tactic to divert taxpayer dollars to franchise owners’ bottom line




Short of a new building, local taxpayers should pay for improvements to the downtown arena where the Minnesota Timberwolves play, according to NBA Commissioner David Stern.

These “Stern comments” came a couple of weeks ago prior to his meeting with City officials “just to talk about where things stand in respect to centering back to the great building it was,” said the league commish of the publicly owned arena. “When you think about the [proposed] new scoreboard, the signage, the seats, the clubs, the restaurants, everything really takes the ambiance of the building…and brings it really into the 21st century,” he suggested.

In other words, here comes another strong-arm tactic, subtle or otherwise, that league commissioners typically employ whenever franchises can’t get what they want.

NBA Commissioner David Stern MSR file photo
NBA Commissioner David Stern
MSR file photo

Forbes Magazine’s NBA Team Values list of the 30 franchises reveals that every team increased its value since last year, including a 34-percent increase for the Wolves, who rank 26th in current value ($364 million). However, the league bigwigs want us taxpayers to pay for fancy scoreboards and high-def noisemakers for a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs since the middle of the last decade of the 20th century.

They want to keep up with the Joneses, or in NBA terms, the New York Knicks, a team worth a billion dollars that is renovating Madison Square Garden. “It’s pretty important to make capital improvements on an ongoing basis,” Stern insisted.

Seattle taxpayers didn’t go to the mat, and the team they long supported eventually left for Oklahoma City. The same now goes on in Sacramento, where the citizenry balked at approving a subsidy for a new arena; now the Kings’ owners are selling to a Seattle group. The sale most likely will be approved this spring and allow the team to move to Seattle, where “they propose to improve [the city arena] as a temporary facility while a new one is being built,” said Stern.

However, Minneapolis, which last year agreed to help foot the bill for the new Vikings stadium, seemingly will flop for Stern, who applied his taxpayer wrestling skills in order to bring a 20th century arena, home of a 21st century losing team, up to supposedly NBA standards.


Globe-tracking the Lynx 

Sparta&K (Russia) begins EuroLeague second-round play this week. Seimone Augustus made all six of her shots, including a three-pointer, and scored 13 points in 12 minutes in her last outing.

Rebekkah Brunson’s game-high 18 points for USK Praha as her team finished the Czech League regular season 21-1. They begin EuroLeague play this week against Galatasaray (Turkey), on which Lindsay Whalen is a member.

Amber Harris scored 31 points and grabbed 14 boards in a win last week for Bichumi (Turkey).

Monica Wright (Danadenong, Australia) missed a triple-double by three assists in a 15-point, 11-rebound, 7-assist performance, and earlier had 15 points in her team’s two wins.

Jessica Adair came two rebounds short of a double-double (10 points and 8 rebounds) in a recent loss for Townsville (Australia).

Recent Lynx signee Rachel Jarry scored 13 points and had six rebounds for Bulleen (Australia).


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