Friday, April 16, 2010

On Playoff Money

• Also see: The Painted Area's 2009-10 NBA Awards

A couple days ago, both TrueHoop and FanHouse posted breakdowns on the "playoff pool" money which teams earn based on how far they advance in the playoffs and where they finish in the regular-season standings.

I am currently re-reading Go Up For Glory, the classic 1966 Bill Russell autobiography, and I had to chuckle when I came across this passage the other night, in which Russell explains the grind of the NBA season thusly:
    Seven months of hotel rooms and plane rides and violence and more hotel rooms and chicanery and confusion and card games and card-sharks and more hotels and more airplanes and more of the violence of two hundred pound men slashing away at each other for a valued prize - the money that only goes to the champion.
Considering that Russell is widely considered to be the greatest winner in the history of American sports, I found it funny to read his phrasing of the ultimate goal: "the money that only goes to the champion."

Considering that Russell made $19,500 in 1956-57, his first season, it's understandable. While it was a Don Draper-worthy salary in those days, every penny of playoff money counted to the players back then in a way that it does not now.


At 11:58 PM, Anonymous Arjun Chandrasekhar said...

russell isn't the consensus greatest winner ever - otto graham led the cleveland browns to 10 straight NFL championships, winning seven. During one of those seasons he actually won an NBA championship with the rochester royals during the same calendar year!!! russell and automatic otto are in a class by themselves.

At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As great as Otto was don't confuse the AAFC years with the NFL.

At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Troy MIles said...

Once the Ball goes up with the championship on the line, the money issue becomes a small measure. NBA playoff basketball is perhaps the greatest show on earth (no offense to march madness-which was spectacular this year). The NBA playoffs feature uber-skilled guys(just as in years past) going at each other in pursuit of the impossible to purchase golden ball.

The Championship Banner flies in but one building each year, so there's always been supreme motivation for the players. Plus advertising dollars have always been there for the victorious "Star"of stars and/or the coach.

Again, regardless of the money on the line, the Championship trophy is not for sale. There must be a grind before shine!

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