COMMENTARY | The Los Angeles Lakers are among basketball's most storied franchises, and one of the most distinguishable signatures of the team has always been its purple and gold jerseys.
Fans in Los Angeles hold those colors as dear to their hearts as New Yorkers do the pinstripes of the New York Yankees or fans in Texas the star of the Dallas Cowboys. These things are sacred, and in the sports world, there's a lot to be said for purity, no matter how fruitless an endeavor that may be in today's corporate world.
That's why it should be no surprise that the NBA Board of Governors has approved the use of small advertising patches to be placed on uniforms beginning in 2013. What's more is that the league would also have these advertisements on the jerseys to be resold to fans around the world.
The income from the ads would be shared, so given the approximate 50/50 revenue split of basketball related income, the teams and players alike stand to benefit from the reported $100 million in additional revenue the patches could generate. The revenue will be split among all teams, so this could be a great development for small market teams, and nothing but bad news for the Lakers.
Fans will voice their opinions, and many have already expressed concern that ads on jerseys would take away from the legacy of historic franchises like Los Angeles. Ultimately though, they'll have no say in the matter as the almighty dollar wins out.
Rare is the case when Bud Selig is perceived as the voice of reason, and even rarer is the scenario where that voice is actually seen as correct. But as he told ESPN's "The Waddle & Silvy Show", "With (Major League Baseball), uniforms are really important."
He went on to speak to the historical aspect of the uniforms of the Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Chicago Cubs and how they are staples in baseball tradition. The Lakers share the same sentimental place within the history of the NBA.
What will the signature moments look like to fans when those scripted "Lakers" letters are accented by a corporate logo? One could only assume that in the large scheme of things, it won't matter much as long as the team wins -- that's always what matters most.
But there's a segment of purists who shun the idea of the tampering with such hallowed threads, and who could blame them? The purple and gold pattern has been a part of Lakers lore since 1966. For now, the patches are going to be small (2.5 square inches), but once the NBA gets a taste of the potential revenue, the floodgates could open up and we could have this on our hands.
No respectable NBA fan wants to see that -- not even David Stern could say as much with a straight face. It's highly doubtful that any kid grows up imagining they'll have the name of a search engine across their chest one day as they shoot jumpers well into the evening and fall asleep next to their basketball.
Hopefully, purity will outlast greed in American professional sports in this instance. We can all only hope so -- before the star on the helmets of the Cowboys is replaced by the one from a major fast food chain. There's no telling where it stops.
Beware, Kobe Bryant, the golden arches of McDonald's may find their way next to the No. 24 on your jersey sometime very soon.Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA. He has written for Southern California's Press-Enterprise and Examiner.com. For more insight, you can follow Michael on Twitter.
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