Monday, April 14, 2008

3shadesofblue Interviews Michael Heisley

Go read this interview now:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

This is truly an amazing piece of journalism from the guys at, and as much credit, if not more, should go to Michael Heisley for agreeing to participate.

This interview, more than any other I've ever read, gives insight into Heisley's thinking.

You learn that despite what the record indicates, he might know what he's doing:

  • He has a plan, and he thinks it will work. He also realizes there's a great deal of luck needed.
  • He knows the Grizzlies are not a success by any metrics (save those related to charitable work) including wins, fans support, profitability, and ability to successfully sell the team.
  • He also points out that while the partnership with the local ownership has not been a success, it's also not as contentious as has been reported. Though the local owners have made similar remarks in the Commercial Appeal, it would be interesting to hear them respond as candidly as Heisley.
  • He has a realistic picture of what he thinks can and will happen. He thinks the Grizzlies can turn a profit and compete. Only time will tell if he's successful or if his honest effort is a good effort.
Two really interesting themes that Heisley returned to throughout were that he hates the media (though he explicitly states he doesn't hate the media) and small market teams are at a disadvantage.

The Media

Heisley clearly dislikes the media's coverage of the Grizzlies. More specifically, he thinks that they don't represent the reality of Grizzlies basketball well. Tangentially, they don't place much emphasis on the Grizzlies' strong charitable work.

Heisley claims to understand that this is the way the world works and admits he did a poor job of navigating the media throughout his tenure. It's also clear that this upsets Heisley outright, and I don't fault him for being upset. I think Heisley's interview with 3shadesofblue goes a long way in helping the public's perception of Heisley, but the reality is that Heisley will always get a bad rap (in part deservedly) until the Grizzlies are a success given the above metrics.

Competitive Advantage in the NBA

Even more interesting is Heisley's take on the disadvantages that come with being a small market team. Heisley clearly articulates that small markets are at a disadvantage because of how revenue sharing works.

He goes on to talk about an initiative that Bobcats owner, Robert Johnson, is undertaking to petition the NBA to change the rules so the playing field is level. While probably a long shot, changes to revenue sharing would provide the Grizzlies with a better chance of success than anything Heisley can orchestrate on a local level.

I challenge Heisley to get actively involved in working on this, and in the meantime, I'm interested to see how Heisley's plan for the Grizzlies turns out.

Thanks to Heisley for taking the time and being candid. This insight gives Grizzlies fans a glimmer of hope and something to talk about during a dismal season.

Here's to hoping for some luck.


ASponge said...

Sorry to repeat this here, but we need all the effort we can get on this viral marketing campaign if we're going to save the Sonics. Pleeeeeease post it up as a story on your Web site:

As citizens of the NBA, it falls on the rest of us to help Save the Sonics! I beg you to please post your team/owner's information with the following. Thanks!

We Miami Heat fans have put together a proposed plan of action here:

It involves this:


"As a form of protest, we vow to boycott any game next season in which the Oklahoma City Sonics play, whether it be in our arena or watching it on television."

Spread this around as much as you can. It's going to take the other teams to prevent this from happening. Let's save the Sonics!

(E-mail your local newspaper too. This is of vital importance)

pcsolotto said...

I agree with you about these. Well someday Ill create a blog to compete you! lolz.