If you can figure out a way to travel back in time, you might want to set the dial for about 20 years ago. When you arrive in your new (or old) era, you might want to buy an NBA franchise.
Check out the Cavs’ Gordon Gund, who bought the team in 1983 for $20 million.
He’s now in the process of selling the team for $375 million.
Gund acknowledged this sale shortly after Forbes Magazine released the net worth of each NBA team. According to Forbes, the Cavs are worth $298 million.
The arrival of LeBron James is among the factors that drove up the price.
The year before James was drafted, Forbes listed the Cavs’ worth at $222 million. It jumped to $258 million last year when James joined the team. The addition of James has meant an increase in television revenue, more premium seats and an increase in sponsorship.
The Los Angeles Lakers top all NBA teams. The Lakers are worth $510 million, and the New York Knicks are second at $494 million.
No doubt the recent sale of the Suns for an eye-popping $401 million is helping to pump up the value of NBA franchises.
In an interview with the Charlotte Observer, Hornets owner George Shinn admits the franchise might never have moved to New Orleans if he’d simply apologized for his own erratic behavior while the club was in Charlotte.
Says Shinn: "I went through hell in Charlotte. One of the biggest mistakes I made was when I withdrew. I was so embarrassed I didn’t feel comfortable going to speak."
Shinn’s withdrawal came after a woman accused him of forcing her to commit a sexual act in late 1997. Shinn, who was then married to someone else, would become the reluctant star of Court TV during the ensuing trial. Testimony also revealed he’d had an affair with a member of the Hornets’ cheerleading squad named the "Honeybees."
Though Shinn won the case, his image in town was virtually ruined, and the Hornets’ public support fell dramatically.
"I committed a sin and not a crime," Shinn says. "God can forgive me, and I can move on."
Shinn then was asked if he had publicly admitted mistakes and apologized, did he think the Hornets would still be in Charlotte?
"Yes, I think that," Shinn says. "If I’d had the guts, the courage, to do that. . ."
HONORS FOR ELLIOTT
The Spurs will retire the No. 32 worn by Sean Elliott for 11 years of his 12-year NBA career in a ceremony on March 6.
Elliott, who came back and played for the Spurs in 2000 after receiving a kidney transplanted from his brother in 1999, is the all-time Spurs leader in 3-pointers made (563) and attempted (1,485), is third in games (669), fourth in points scored (9,696) and sixth in rebounds (2,941).
Elliott’s is the fifth number retired, preceded by David Robinson, George Gervin, James Silas and Johnny Moore.
Said Elliott: "To be there with David, George, James and Johnny is pretty overwhelming. I’m thrilled. This is a huge honor for me."
Elliott is best remembered for what Spurs fans call the "Memorial Day Miracle," when he nailed a 3-pointer while tip-toeing near the out-of-bounds line to beat the Trail Blazers in a Western Conference Finals game en route to the Spurs’ first NBA title in 1999.
FAN OF THE FANS
Trail Blazers rookie Sebastian Telfair had some refreshing things to say on his view of the NBA:
"The fans are so important to today’s game. If they weren’t attracted to the game and the players as much as they are, we wouldn’t get paid what we get paid.
"What makes our game is the fans. Whenever I get a chance to give back to them, I will, because they give so much to me. . . . That the kids get to see you, that is one of the most important things.
"When I was younger, I was in magazines and on TV. But still, whenever I saw an NBA player, I was excited. I would go over and shake their hand, and they were always nice to me.
"So I know how important it is when a kid gets a chance to spend a minute with me."
RED LETTER DAY
In his latest book, Celtics legend Red Auerbach said Rick Pitino made one of his worst moves when he got rid of Danny Fortson. Auerbach said the Celtics missed Fortson’s rebounding and toughness.
"Really?’’ said Fortson, who now plays for the SuperSonics, when informed of the passage from "Let Me Tell You a Story.’’
"He said that? That’s unbelievable. That’s like getting a call from the Pope or the president.
"You just try to play hard and let things happen, but when you hear that Red Auerbach is praising you, that’s something.’’
•"Stay away from my wife. What’s wrong with you? How could you?" — Kobe Bryant, repeating his phone conversation with Karl Malone. Bryant accused Malone of hitting on his wife.
•"I’m very surprised how it came out, but I’ve never seen anything like that before. I thought him and Karl were best friends. Karl was always the liaison between me and that guy. I was under the impression they were closer than what they were." — Shaquille O’Neal on the Bryant-Malone feud.
•Monday was the anniversary of the 1977 plane crash that killed the Evansville University basketball team, an event that haunts Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, who was supposed to coach the Aces but backed out before the season. "I think of them every time I get on an airplane," Sloan said.
•The Pacers signed 36-year-old Michael Curry last week. He is the Players Association president, though he had been out of the league this season.
Said coach Rick Carlisle, who coached Curry when they were both with the Pistons, "There’s some guys you meet in the course of your life that you never bet against.
"You can’t bet against a guy who’s an undrafted player who becomes president of the Players Association. You can’t bet against an undrafted player who looks so limited that you wonder how he’s even in this league and yet he’s a starter in the league for seven years."
DID YOU KNOW?
• Sloan became the 10th coach to reach 1,500 career games last week.
• Bruce Ratner, the Nets’ new owner, believes his franchise could move to Brooklyn by the 2007-08 season.