Xiao Hua’s five years are by no means a joke.
On February 2, 2014, there was only one game. Rajan Rondo, who had been tearing the anterior cruciate ligament for a year, came back and led Lukai to victory over the Magic. For the NBA, this game is insignificant, the eyes of the American people are grabbed by the NFL Super Bowl, but for the basketball world, this day has more important things to happen.
On that very day, David Stern took his last bus from his home in Manchester, New York, to the NBA headquarters at 645 Olympic Tower Building on Fifth Avenue in New York, formally ending his 30-year grand presidential trip. Stern handed over power to Adam Shaw in his high-end suite office with wooden floors. It was not an overnight task. At least Shaw had shared the office with Stern as vice president of the Alliance for six years.
The world knows how well Jews can do business. It’s logical that the NBA, a super business alliance, should be handed over by two Jews. However, there are other ties between Stern and Shaw, besides their ethnic identities.
Stern and Shaw were New Yorkers. In 1966, when Shaw was four years old, Stern, 24, became a lawyer at Pusco Law Firm, which was then the legal representative of the NBA. Stern moved from Party B to Party A in 1980 and became a full-time legal adviser to the league. Two years later, he became Vice President of the league. Four years later, Stern became a big steward of the NBA.
Xiao Hua’s father was one of the partners of Pusco Law Firm.
Xiao Hua had intended to enter the law firm with his son. In fact, after graduating from college, he had worked as a litigation lawyer in other law firms in New York, but when Xiao Hua, 26, faced a formal career choice in 1992, he wrote a letter to Stern for consultation.
This letter changed Xiao Hua’s life trajectory. Stern had an eye for young Xiao Hua, so he offered him a special assistant to the president on the spot and asked him to come to his side to do things. Stern is proud of his insight: “It feels like I kidnapped Xiao Hua to the NBA.”
Unlike Stern, who took over his predecessor’s responsibilities four years after he became Vice president, Stern’s training cycle for Shaw was quite long. Starting from assistant president, Shaw has been president and chief operating officer of NBA Entertainment for 10 years. During this period, Shaw became a producer of Jordan’s big movies and participated in the production of Mike and Yao Like movies. Ming documentary The Year of Yao.
Basically, Stern’s judgment on the future direction of pan-entertainment in sports industry is at a glance in the cultivation of Xiao Hua. As for Xiao Hua’s title in the future, it is only the blossoming result of Stern’s early cultivation that he will eventually replace himself as vice president.
Even in order to smooth the transition, Stern announced in 2012 that Shaw would be his successor. Earlier, Shaw had taken over most of the league’s business. It was common for him to appear with Stern on various occasions. Sometimes, in the face of some seemingly tricky problems in the media, Stern would choose tactics. Let Xiao Hua answer. On the other hand, Xiao Hua has been fully trained in dealing with major issues in the NBA. The negotiation of labor agreement in 2011 was finally reached by surprise, with less impact than the suspension in 1998. As the main speaker of this alliance, Xiao Hua fully demonstrated his coordination ability.
But the NBA is not Stern’s private property. Choosing the successor of the president needs the board’s resolution. Over the years, Shaw has been steadily paving the way for Stern to succeed. The decision to succeed seems very easy. Spurs owner Holt said there is no need to hesitate. “He has worked in the League for 20 years, and he is an important reason why the NBA has achieved these achievements today.” He’s the one who has to do all the big and small things in the league. Now of course we want him to continue.
Mavericks owner Cuban also has a full understanding of this: “Until the last meeting, Stern was the main actor, but it is clear that Xiao Hua participated in all the important decisions of the League over the past many years.”
Of course, in addition to Xiao Hua has been in practice for many years, everyone may have had enough of Stern’s strength and more expectations for Xiao Hua’s gentleness. Steve Cole once said flatteringly, “I don’t mean that he is not good, but if he is loved by Xiao Jun, that’s really great.”
In the eyes of the world, Stern has laid a solid foundation, and Xiaohua does not have to face the predicament Stern once faced. When Stern took over the NBA, the League just stepped out of the feathers of the 1970s. Although the black-and-white realgar-green war was stimulating enough, the commercial value of the League was not fully exploited and its image was uncertain. There were endless negative news such as drug addiction, promiscuity and alcoholism. The League earned only $118 million. When Stern took over in 1984, it happened that Jordan entered the league. No. It’s a great luck, but the emergence of superheroes and the development of the whole league are two different things. What Stern did, in short, was to raise the market value of the league team to $12 billion.
It’s not easy to fight against rivers and mountains. It’s even more difficult to keep them. It’s even more difficult to keep fighting against rivers and mountains. During Stern’s reign, it was almost impossible to say the same thing, because the money returns were so huge that bosses could shut up, which was the fundamental reason why Stern showed more people with iron hands. This also brings the first difficulty to Xiao Hua. He needs to show that he can lead the alliance further on the basis of a peak and consolidate his voice. This is the first question for every successor. You have done a good job as the second-in-law, but as the eldest, how much can you do? Nobody knows.
The second difficulty is that after Jordan retired, in fact, the NBA has begun to show a certain downward trend since the new millennium. At that time, more than half of the teams lost money, but there was no situation that the bosses raised the bar. After all, they had made a lot of money before. It is not difficult to maintain patience. But after Xiao Hua took office, many NBA teams changed ownership. New bosses in high-tech or venture capital industries mostly enter the alliance at a relatively high level, and a mediocre capital rise curve is clearly not enough to satisfy their appetite, and new capital patience will not be sufficient in the worse case of a downturn.
Xiao Hua must do more.
But before doing more, Xiao Hua has to face the problem first. Just two months after Xiao Hua took office, the media revealed that Clipper owner Sterling had recorded racial discrimination against blacks. This incident triggered a sensation, with players from James to President Barack Obama expressing unanimous condemnation.
Raising the banner of political correctness is not difficult, but the difficulty lies in how to deal with it. Xiao Hua took only four days to make a decision to suspend Stirling for life and impose a maximum penalty of 2.5 million in the NBA at that time. The lifetime ban included depriving Stirling of ownership of the Clippers, prohibiting him from entering any facilities on the Clippers, and prohibiting him from participating in any NBA games. Finally, with Xiao Hua’s strong push, a month later, Mrs. Stirling transferred the Clipper to Ballmer for $2 billion.
Xiao Hua’s crisis public relations is very beautiful, without any slippage, and even to increase the social image of the NBA, but the implementation is not as easy as imagined. After all, it takes more than two-thirds of the league or more of the owners of 22 teams to sweep a boss out.
Obviously, when Sterling loses his imminent fixed assets because of his comments, other bosses will inevitably think: “Although I do not have such comments, maybe I am not as bad as Sterling, maybe I will not be recorded, but there must be a possibility that I will be caught, which may make me lose the team.”
Similar ideas are unavoidable, but the ultimate kick out of Stirling’s program can explain one thing, Xiao Hua’s use of communication skills to eliminate anxiety clearly played a decisive role. The only way to deal with the bottom line problem is not to break the fast. It also appeared after the late North Carolina discriminatory act against LGBT crowd was introduced. The League directly cancelled Charlotte’s eligibility to host the All-Star in 2017. Of course, after North Carolina revoked the act, Xiaohua sent the All-Star to Charlotte. Jordan, the owner of the Hornet, was grateful for it. “I’m very grateful.” Thank you, President Xiao Hua. Jordan’s excitement is very real. After all, the owner invested 33.5 million yuan to upgrade the stadium to hold the All-Star Game, and the money didn’t drift away.
After dealing with the Stirling incident quickly, Xiao Hua began to develop his business territory. First of all, of course, everything should come from the stadium. When Xiao Hua came to power, LeBron returned to Cleveland at the end of the Hot Coast Minor Dynasty, and the event of Lukai-Hot Coast’s new and old giants embracing the regime finally came to an end. Coincidentally, a brand-new face appeared in the west. The warriors of the team in the center of the world’s high-tech Bay began to rise, thus opening up their five-year history of universal domination. From this year on, Dong Zhan Xiyong’s main script officially began to drop its first brush. At the same time, the basketball game has undergone dramatic changes. Three-point shots have become the dominant weapon. The two-pole confrontation between better individuals and better teams has made the context of the times clear and discernible. Rich stories and the right climax period — in the first round of 2014, there are five groups of seven winners. The two groups of 1-3 Jedi reversals in the 2016 West Final and the final, and Durant’s airborne landing in Auckland after 2017 all turned the League into a crisp article full of hot spots and topics. Criticism about the league’s current playing style is always on the ears. Comments about “contemporary basketball is too soft” and “referee whistle is too sensitive” are also common. But unlike experts, former generations and hard core fans, ordinary audiences don’t care so much about what basketball has become. Dramatic stimulation is more eye-catching, while eye-catching, in the flow of traffic. Wang’s present means sucking up money.
From this point of view, Stern’s ten-year training of Shaw’s entertainment industry has achieved remarkable results. The concept of pan-entertainment has gone deep into Xiao Hua’s bone marrow. At a commercial sports award ceremony held last year, Xiao Hua conveyed his core idea to the participants.
Don’t stick to sports.
Xiao Hua’s meaning is twofold. First, sports is a business, which has been deeply rooted in people’s hearts. In Xiao Hua’s eyes, the most important thing is not to improve basketball games, upgrade better stadiums or provide better peripheral services; it is not limited to expanding the front, developing 2K leagues outside the NBA, WNBA and development league; or to continue to promote Sterne. Dai has begun to pursue the strategy of globalization, of course, such things must be done, such as letting Durant go to India to criticize the local civilized and health situation, and advertising jerseys, efforts and sports broadcasters to sign larger contracts, these are just modest means. Two things are really likely to have a far-reaching impact on the future of the NBA:
The first is the completion of a three-year strategic cooperation contract with MGM, the US gambling company, which makes the NBA the first sports league in the United States to cooperate with legitimate gambling companies. This step is very delicate. When people are worried that the cooperation with the gambling industry will lead to the NBA’s fake ball and gambling disturbance, they should think about whether some things should be blocked or neglected. This is not a complicated truth. After all, Gulong said that there are two businesses in human history that never died out. One is gambling, the other is not to say. Since it is an inescapable thing in human nature, why not make it a legitimate business and make him a profit instead of hiding it?
The second thing is the new media. Xiao Hua has a profound understanding of the development of the new media. He believes that the future sports communication will take a completely different road from the traditional media. Before the start of the 2014-15 season, American media revealed that the NBA and ESPN and TNT had entered into new TV broadcasting contracts for nine years, with a total value of $24 billion, nearly three times the original contract. But in Xiao Hua’s eyes, the revenue brought by traditional media is of course important. The new mode of communication, streaming media, short video, VR, social media, is the future of NBA development. Xiao Hua once lamented that they could not publish NBA videos on Facebook because of agreements with some traditional media. “But there are no regulations in other countries!” So in India, you can see NBA videos on Facebook; so in China, you can also see NBA videos on Sina Weibo after Tencent buys out the broadcasting rights. This shows that Xiao Hua is a thorough adult, and one of the adult’s codes of conduct is that when you face the choice, the first choice is that I want all of them.
Compared with the two major events that are happening above, there are different kinds of people like revising the draft drawing rules to avoid putting things in order, considering canceling the regulations that one year in college can enter the league, revising the draft age, considering changing the way of playoff matches, playing with All-Star games and making Casey the fastest attendant and attendant in the history of best coach, but Xiao Hua has done it in the past five years. It’s just a few trifles.
Another significance of Xiao Hua’s “don’t stick to sports” lies in his insight into the social effects of sports. In Stern’s era, League image is required, but players are not encouraged to take an active part in social affairs. Simply put, don’t mess up, but Xiao Hua wants more.
“Sports has never had such a great impact on society as it does today. Whether it’s about race and gender, health, mental health, technology and the media, everything we sports people do affects the world day after day. I suggest that we should not stick to sports itself. Instead, we should embrace it, celebrate it, and use it to build bridges and unite people.
In the United States under Trump, Neoconservatism is rampant, racial disputes emerge in endlessly, social disputes caused by the “kneeling incident” of the NFL, TV anchors such as “players play well” and so on. Xiao Hua never keeps silent. On the one hand, he strictly keeps the NBA’s political public relations, on the other hand, the NBA has been at the forefront of major leagues in terms of its commitment to human solidarity, such as the ball. The proportion of female managers in the team has reached more than 30%, which is the first of the four major leagues. On social issues, Xiao Hua has always fully supported the players to voice: “I am proud of the phenomenon that players voice to social issues that they think are important through the NBA platform.”
In the opinion of basketball reporter Woj, this is a big difference between Shaw and Stern. Stern’s position is too clear. He is the absolute spokesman for the rights of the owner. During the 300 rounds of the labor agreement negotiations with the players, he came out of the negotiating table and taught the players how to dress. All these make Laos look somewhat disgusting. Xiao Hua shows a clear picture. In different positions, he will think more from a player’s point of view, at least he expressed his concern. This is really helpful to the players. After all, the League simply means that the owners and players are in a big camp. Xiao Hua is no longer standing on the team, but is good at long-sleeved dancing between the two sides. The most remarkable result of this is that the labor agreement negotiations in 2017 are quite different from the noisy 2011. You can’t feel any disputes between the two sides and reach a goal. The new seven-year agreement shows that the league’s revenue has soared at this time, but the players have not appealed for a higher income share. This is a big win for the bosses. By this time, you will find that Xiao Hua has succeeded in protecting the interests of the bosses, but it seems a lot milder.
Today, the total market value of Xiao Hua’s NBA team has increased fivefold since he came to power, exceeding 60 billion yuan. Last year, only one Cavaliers team lost money. Overall, the league’s ability to make money broke through the historical peak again. The average income before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization for each team was $61 million, twice that of two seasons ago.
No wonder the news that NFL wants to hire Xiao Huadang as president comes out this year. After all, dollar bills are not deceptive.
If there is anything unsatisfactory in the past five years, it may be that the warriors after Durant’s arrival are too strong and there are not too many suspenses in the final for two consecutive years. Even so, the long regular season and the blooming stars have been enough to make the ratings and attendance double up year after year – until this year, after James’s trip to the west, the league’s ratings have risen. For the first time in five years, the ratings have declined, and Xiao Hua is wary of it: “It’s a problem, we have to find a way to solve it.”
Obviously, this June, the Warriors lost two heavyweight stars, the future is doomed to stay dormant for at least a year, the Raptors become the new league king, the League will soon have half of the players on the free agent market, all of which provide Xiao Hua with a little convenience to solve the problem, but still not enough.
What to do?
On June 16, after six months of Anthony Davis trading farce, the Lakers and other Dai plans were finally completed, and the slogan “Lakers Championship” was finally picked out from the garbage dump, washed out, and re-emerged in the purple and golden light.
On the other hand, it’s painful for them to lose their superstar, but it’s comforting to get enough chips from the Lakers when they have no choice. But the real comfort comes from a month ago, when they won the first prize in the draft lottery with a 6% chance.
Just before the deal, gambling companies had listed the Lakers as the most popular champions in the coming season, and their sources and data analysis were clearly more reliable than the average person. “The influx of money made us respect this team.”
So far, in fact, from the Lakers to the Pelicans, in the case of strong eyebrows must go, has achieved the most possible win-win situation. One of the league’s largest ball markets has risen again, and the small ball Market teams have been adequately compensated, and the gambling industry is booming. As a fan, you saw the news for the first time on social media and opened short videos of the Big Brother with a lot of interest. Whether it’s all intentional or natural, Xiao Hua is naturally the one who laughs the most.
Bow to the Big Man!