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Eric Freeman

New Warriors owner has hired his 22-year-old son

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

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As I've said before, it's a wonderful time to be a Warriors fan. There's now hope and a chance that the team could become a regular playoff participant with some hard work and a few breaks. It's even been sunny in the Bay Area this whole week, which is about as common as a Republican around these parts.

Sadly, there has been one bit of controversial news with Joe Lacob and Peter Guber's takeover. While searching for a new front office, Lacob decided to pick his son Kirk, a 22-year-old who graduated from Stanford in June, as Director of Basketball Operations. Yes, you read that correctly -- while most of his classmates were moving back into their parents' houses and hoped to score an unpaid internship, Lacob was getting a job in an NBA front office.

Not surprisingly, the elder Lacob has been questioned by various media outlets about his decision. His most complete answer was transcribed by Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury-News:

Kirk had a job with the Phoenix Suns under Steve Kerr. He is a graduate from Stanford. You'll have to make this judgment yourself, I'm biased, but I think he's one of the smartest, basketball-savvy young men I've ever run into. I say that, I know he's my son, but he really is.

And he's wanted to do this forever. Maybe obviously has the passion his dad does for basketball. He played... he could've played in a lot of college places. Wound up going to Stanford and walking on, starting the Stanford club basketball program and built that.

He had a job with the Phoenix Suns, then Steve Kerr unexpectedly resigned in June, when he was supposed to start. He was going to start after the summer. [...]

People are going to ask a lot of questions. I told him he has to work harder than everybody else. Everybody else. And I expect a lot from everybody. And he's going to have to perform just like Larry Riley, Bob Rowell, the coach, everyone's going to have to perform. And he probably has to perform better, because of the situation.

Let's be honest here: Kirk Lacob would have not gotten this job if he weren't the owner's son. There's no way around that fact -- teams are not in the habit of hiring 22-year-old kids for high-profile positions just because they really love basketball.

But let's also not act as if this hire is an affront to the integrity of the game. NBA and other professional sports front offices are full of nepotistic hires, from the Buss children with the Lakers to the Steinbrenners with the Yankees. This is a fact of ownership as much as handing out overvalued contracts to big men and subsequently raising ticket prices.

Like his father, Kirk Lacob obviously has a lot to learn about his new job. On top of that, he's in the public eye for the first time ever: The questionable activities most of us engaged in at 22 will be blown up beyond common decency. He better change his Facebook privacy settings, because it's a wild world out there.

Yet a lack of experience is far from a death sentence, for Lacob or the franchise as a whole. It's just the way of the sports-owning world.

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