Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It Sure Looked Like a Scam to Me

Do you own a sports franchise? Are you the owner of a minor league baseball team, a minor league hockey team, or a D-League basketball team? If so, don't do this:
An NBA Development League team owner is apologizing for misleading fans who thought Michael Jordan would play in a charity game at the Utah Flash's home opener.

Flash owner Brandt Andersen acknowledged sending a Jordan lookalike around town Monday, when supposed "Jordan" sightings and an Internet video of the impostor eating at a local restaurant created buzz that Jordan really was in town. More than 7,500 fans showed up hoping to see Jordan play 1-on-1 against former Utah Jazz guard Bryon Russell at halftime.

The Flash had been pitching the Jordan-Russell rematch since September despite never hearing from Jordan after Andersen issued the first challenge.

Andersen maintained he held out hope that Jordan would agree to be part of Monday's promotion.

"This was done in fun," Andersen wrote on his blog after the game. "If you did not see it as fun or you feel we went over the top I am sorry."

Andersen said he had always planned to send out a lookalike, complete with bodyguards, into the community.

"We wanted to test the strength and effectiveness of viral media by putting him out in Provo with bodyguards, and some hype," he said. "I always assumed it would be uncovered very quickly that it was a hoax."

Fans caught on when the impostor trotted on to the court at halftime and started booing, then leaving.

The original blog post about this event said:
I wasn't at the Hall of Fame to see the acceptance speech by Michael Jordan but I was watching. I also wasn't at the 1998 finals when Jordan hit that shot over Bryon Russell with 5.2 seconds, but I have seen it about a hundred times on NBA promos.

One thing I can tell you is that I want to be front and center for whatever the outcome is when the two meet up next.

So here is my offer: Michael Jordan vs. Bryon Russell-1 on 1 challenge to 21. I will personally donate $100,000 to charity in the name of the winner. We can do it during the half time of the Utah Flash home opener on December 7th. $100,000 in cash for a 15 minute pickup game. MJ even you can’t say no to that.

Our venue is the perfect place for this challenge because it brings BRuss back to Utah and Michael Jordan has a home just outside of Park City (I have seen his Carolina Blue Jump Man plane on the runway at Million Air in SLC) so it is convenient for both guys. Not to mention that it would be sacrilegious to have this take place anywhere outside of Utah.

I have already called BRuss directly and spoken to him about the event. I have also sent a message through a mutual friend to MJ to invite him. He is going to be a little more difficult to convince but not impossible. This would be a good PR move for him following his speech. Back up those words that anytime you see BRuss with his shorts on you are “coming at him”.

Think about the benefits for the two of them. BRuss wants some vindication and MJ puts that fire we have always seen to the test by lacing them up one more time in a casual ‘all for charity’ event.

The match up between these guys created one of the greatest moments in basketball history and was memorialized at Michael's Hall of Fame Induction Speech. Let's lace them up just one more time.

Can you say "half-baked" and "ill-conceived?" What few fans the Utah Flash already had are probably going to stick with the team. Anyone else, who might have wanted to see some NBA developmental league action? Forget it.

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