NBA Champions Tournament

The NBA season has a problem with teams needing to rest players because the wear and tear of the season is too much and it is better for teams, long term, to lose a couple game and keep their best players ready for the post season. This is a problem because the league markets its stars and people are paying more and more money to see them in person.

The best solution to this is to turn the all-star break into a 3 week break with the addition of a Champions Tournament. There would need to be significant prize money and it would need to be incentivized so that winners got paid significantly more, so that everyone plays. I’m talking a prize level like the winners receive an amount equal to their annual salary, runners up get half their annual salary, third and fourth place, one quarter and everyone else one tenth. The all-star break would start with a few days off and then launch into a single elimination tournament with 16 teams. This means the most that would be added would be 4, and the possible reward would be significant.

The tournament, then, would be played out in Las Vegas, taking about 10 days, giving another week long break before the all-star weekend (and during which time the NBA can structure some kind of trade and free-agent frenzy to stay in the news). It becomes a destination event, with fans coming in from all over and players (and coaches) looking to double their annual income.

The teams would be the first 16 selected from a list of the most recent past play-off champions and regular season east and west conference champions. It would suddenly make winning the regular season relevant again. They could then be seeded according to their current regular season standings, making the first half of the season relevant for players also. This also gives fans who have recently experienced glory but whose teams are now in the dumps a chance to revel in the good old days. And NBA TV would be able to program a bunch of ‘looking back’ shows that people love so much.

Just for fun, that means the 2015 tournament would have looked something like this:

  1. Warriors
  2. Spurs
  3. Cavs
  4. Oklahoma City
  5. Celtics
  6. Heat
  7. Pacers
  8. Pistons
  9. Mavs
  10. Bulls
  11. Jazz
  12. Magic
  13. Knicks
  14. Nets
  15. Lakers
  16. 76ers

Tell me you wouldn’t watch that on TV?


Witherington, A Week in the Life of Corinth

Ben Witherington is a Bible professor at Asbury Seminary and writes incredibly intelligent books and commentaries that have helped me enormously. This book I got through an IVP book club subscription is a fiction novella (a word I stole off the back cover) about living in Corinth in the middle of the first century. It gives the reader an inside look at the culture in which Paul planted the gospel. The church at Corinth was the most adventurous of all the churches Paul began. Their struggles in adopting to life in Christ were definitely firsts and presented their leaders with brand-new, first time ever kinds of problems. I feel like a lot of pastors read 1 and 2 Corinthians just to remind themselves that problems people face today are not the worst thing ever and that Jesus is faithful to work.

The story itself isn’t exactly riveting, it’s much more like a canvas used to display the culture in which the story takes place. Like any recent Cowboys season in Jerry’s new stadium, the setting of the story is better than the story itself. So, if you are looking for a Bible-era story that is going to pull you in, you’d be better off reading Ann Rice (or just watch the movie). I would, however, suggest this as an accessible way for people to learn more about the culture around the very early church. It’s not overly academic and you  will learn without the pain that we have come to associate with learning.

Here’s some fast quotes that painlessly taught me some more:

  • p.7, “Estimates suggest that up to half the population of Rome, the Eternal City, were slaves…some of the most highly educated and brilliant persons of the Roman Empire, and some of its best businessmen, were or had been slaves.”
  • p.15, “In 146 BC the Roman general Mummius destroyed the ancient city of Corinth, leaving only the ancient temple of Apollo standing.”
  • p.39, “Most patron-client relationships were euphemistically called friendships (amicitia). And this is apparently one reason Paul largely avoids using such language in his letters. It would have signaled that Paul and his converts were in a patron-client relationship.”
  • p.158, “All of this raises the interesting question of how a high-status Christian like Erastos managed to function, including helping maintain pagan temples, all the while keeping his new faith.”