July 24, 2006

Howard Scultz that is.

It started with Gary Payton, for whom Schultz felt an immediate disdain. Schultz thought Payton was selfish and self-absorbed and that the people with whom he surrounded himself were unethical. When Payton failed to show up on the first day of training camp in 2002 to make a point, it sealed his fate: Schultz was going to trade Payton.

To do so, he found out, he also had to trade Desmond Mason, a player who had become like a son to Schultz, who embodied the qualities that Schultz saw in the consummate NBA player, a man Schultz said repeatedly would be a cornerstone of the franchise's future.

Schultz ultimately decided he disliked Payton more than he liked Mason, and so, like Abraham, he was willing to sacrifice his son. It was the beginning of the downward spiral.</strong>

A good number of people in Seattle knew that GP was kind of an ass, but he was still loved in the community, what did Howard Schultz expect? And what if GP was Kobe, would it have been any different? At least GP wasn't a Latrell Sprewell, though of course he definitely was not a "nice" guy like Ray Allen. Though the contract was ultimately resolved, Schultz never forgot that initial meeting, and he never really forgave Lewis for how the entire negotiating process was handled.

That season, Schultz attended a Sonics game in Phoenix. As he watched courtside, Lewis had the opportunity to seal a game with free throws in the final seconds. Lewis missed both, the Sonics lost the game, and the contempt Schultz felt for Lewis then was visibly palpable.

It was not difficult to decipher that Schultz was thinking, “That guy had the guts to demand more than $60 million and he can’t even hit two free throws? What kind of business did I get myself into where I am forced to pay a 25-year-old kid that kind of money and then watch him fail to produce? Worse, he doesn’t even seem to care.”</strong>

That’s just plain petty. . .Rashard Lewis hasn’t turned into a Nick Anderson since and has worked hard to improve his game.

Basically, Schultz wanted out. His investment – an expensive toy – was not what he thought it would be. He could not change the attitudes of NBA players. He could not get the fan base to support his team the way Europeans support their soccer teams. He was unable to persuade politicos to bail him out of his financial morass.

In short, he failed. Yet he is not willing to admit it. There are scapegoats at his disposal, somebody or something to whom he can shift the blame and justify his decision: the city council, the state legislature, the public.</strong>

That much everyone knows. . .bleh. . .Howard Schultz. Not that I think that I could have made ti work out, but then, he was making enemies out of everyone almost as soon as he bought the team. Keeping Wally Walker around, pissing off the best player and the fans.

そして、スターバックスボイコットは続く。And, I’ve stayed away from Starbucks.

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