Much like Amazon’s control of markets it serves by becoming so large and powerful, making it hard for competitors to compete with it; or, perhaps an even better analogy, like two industry titans that merged together to gain leverage, economies of scale, operational and cost and price efficiencies, marketing and sales efficiencies, and cross marketing opportunities, thus, making it hard for competitors to keep up, the Golden State Warriors merged two of the NBA’s most powerful forces to create one force that many define as “entirely unbeatable”- if it were not for Lebron James.
It can be argued that Golden State has the power of a monopoly. Any such monopoly in any industry is bad for America and would be broken-up because it is anti-competitive to the detriment of consumers. In the Golden State scenario, consumers who want the product of “competition” are hurt (and team owners are hurt) because their products (i.e. their respective teams) have little (perhaps zero) chance of competing for the NBA championship title. Thus, consumers have little choice in the market. They have to take “nothing” in exchange for their money. If fans want a “quality” product for their money (with “quality” being defined as “competitive”), they can not have one, unless they buy tickets to watch Golden State. That is anti-competitive. No other team has a chance to truly compete for the championship, and consumers suffer. In the age of the “super team”, no consumer can get a “quality” product unless they buy the “super-team” product.
To prove that it is not anti-competitive, a company has to show that competition can thrive to the benefit of consumers. In this case, that competition is Lebron James– and Lebron James only. Lebron is the sole “business” that can compete with the Golden State Warriors business, ensuring that NBA consumers are not left without a satisfactory product. Because of Lebron, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a competitive product for their own fans; and, more generally, the NBA has a competitive product for NBA fans at large. Without Lebron, the NBA would have no good case for selling their best product- “competition” – in the forthcoming NBA season. Customers would be cheated out of not just choice, but that key product, altogether.
It may be true that if certain moves are made, such as getting a great point guard, having LaMarcus Aldridge be consistent, and having a healthy Kawhi Leonard on the court, then Coach Popovich and his San Antonio Spurs may also provide competition for Golden State; but, arguably, it is not enough competition to defend against the firepower of Golden State, and, moreover, all of the above elements, at the very least, would have to fully come together for San Antonio to compete.
Lebron James is the Golden State Warrior’s best argument that it is not anti-competitive to the detriment of NBA consumers. If this were a court case, the Golden State Warriors, when asked to prove that sufficient competition in the marketplace exists, would stand up and point to Lebron James- and case closed.
 This article is only meant as an academic exercise to introduce the idea of anti-competitive behaviors within sports leagues, particularly in this era of the “super team”. Clearly there have been dominant teams in the NBA (and other leagues) over the years that repeatedly reached or won championship series’, including the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics (not to mention MLB’s New York Yankees and the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers). Making it to the NBA division finals in three straight years does not, in itself, equate to anti-competitive behaviors by Golden State. However, should they do so for another three years, or for a majority of such years, where their core players are still averaging 30-32 years of age, and where they seem to be poised for more finals appearances, a problem does begin to materialize in that consumers of NBA tickets of every single other team in that division (or in both divisions) can not receive a competitive product and must pay for the Golden State product in order to get the product they desire (i.e. a chance to win). This would begin to feel like a monopoly on the championship that hurts the general NBA consumer. Franchise owners themselves may have a legitimate gripe at such time about “stacking” and “super-teams”.
Neil S. Siskind, Esq., President
The Siskind Law Firm
Neil Siskind is the Founder & Chairman of The Fatherhood Assignment
Learn more at: http://www.neil-siskind-the-fatherhood-assignment.org/
Neil Siskind is the Conservator of the Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve
The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve is over 7 acres of environmentally-pristine waterfront land in a magnificent setting along New York’s majestic Hudson River. The Preserve includes a variety of species of animal and plant life, and is a precious example of the thoughtful maintenance of New York’s priceless open spaces. The land’s uses are limited to outdoor recreation such as hiking and climbing, and the study of ecology, nature and land use. The Neil S. Siskind Nature Preserve allows for the intelligent contemplation of our valuable natural resources and the most effective ways to maximize them and keep them protected.
Neil Siskind, Founder, “National Fatherhood Day” – March 29th
To encourage recognition of the needs of boys and girls who are living without fathers or father-figures in their lives.
Read about the non-profits and charities whose missions Neil Siskind supports and promotes: www.neilsiskindsupports.com
Caring is Free®
You can read what clients and associates say about Neil Siskind at: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-bio/.
Neil Siskind’s Volunteer Work:
– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Volunteer
– Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, My Fundraiser- Help Neil Siskind help children with cancer to be more comfortable: http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR?px=3182108&fr_id=2632&pg=personal
– Make-A Wish Foundation- Help Neil Siskind make sick children’s wishes come true by creating your own fundraiser: Neil-Siskind/Help-Make-A-Child-Smile.htm
– DonorsChoose.org- Donate to one of my needy public classrooms: http://www.donorschoose.org/NeilSiskindGiving
– Champion Children– We seek to inspire people through stories of children who have overcome challenges: http://siskindlawfirm.com/neil-siskind-champion-children/
Neil Siskind’s Pro Bono Work:
– Saving Senior Citizens- Protecting New York’s senior citizens from fraud and financial abuse www.savingseniorcitizens.com
– Senior FreeStart Business– Pro Bono: We seek to help put senior citizens in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/
– Veteran FreeStart Business– Pro Bono: We seek to help put Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in the right direction so that they can face the challenges of the modern economy: http://siskindlawfirm.com/free-start-business/
– In development: The Neil S. Siskind School of Hope: A free school to teach inner-city youths the skills of entrepreneurship and importance of economic self-sufficiency.
Neil Siskind’s Government Work:
– Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Boston, MA, 1994, Intern
– Office of Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Newington, CT, 1992, Intern
– Hartford County Department of Probation, Hartford, CT, 1991, Intern
Neil Siskind’s Community Assistance:
Financed & operated a legal clinic providing low-cost legal services to struggling Long Islanders during the recession to help clients resolve debt, organize finances, and launch new businesses.
Neil Siskind’s Professional Curriculum Vitae: http://neilsiskind.com/
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