Go read this interview now:
This is truly an amazing piece of journalism from the guys at 3shadesofblue.blogspot.com, 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.
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.