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Volume 24 No. 158


The WNBA Storm are organizing a "Stand with Planned Parenthood" rally at KeyArena's West Plaza before their July 18 game, a "first-of-its-kind partnership" with Planned Parenthood, according to Percy Allen of the SEATTLE TIMES. For every ticket purchased, the Storm will "donate $5 to Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI)." The team will "also organize fundraising events, including an online auction to support the chapter." PPGNHI CEO Christine Charbonneau said that Planned Parenthood has "never received public support" from a pro sports team (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/16).

UNCHARTED WATERS: In N.Y., Howard Megdal notes the Storm are "wading into the current political climate in a way that contrasts with the practices of many other sports teams." Storm co-Owner Dawn Trudeau said that she had been "frustrated by her inability to 'make a meaningful impact on the national health care debate.'" Trudeau, regarding discussions she had with her partners, said, "Throughout this year we've had conversations about what was going on in the country, and what we might as individuals might do about it." Trudeau said that when one of the partners went to a Planned Parenthood event, a "light bulb went off there, that this was an organization we should do something with." Megdal notes Planned Parenthood has "long been a target of Republicans and conservatives, who have sought to defund the organization." Trudeau said that the Storm had "not conducted any market research before joining forces with Planned Parenthood." Trudeau: "We just made the decision as an ownership group. We were pretty confident that our fans would respond in a positive way, because we know the kind of people that we have coming to the arena" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/16). Human Life of Washington Exec Dir Esther Hurni-Ripplinger in a written statement said, "If Seattle Storm wants to give to the number one abortion provider in the country they are free to give. I am concerned for fans who want to attend but who may be opposed to this cause. Are they welcome? How are they going to opt out or are they being forced?" (, 6/15).

The allure of working with Clippers Owner Steve Ballmer and investor Dennis Wong, as well as coach and President of Basketball Operations Doc Rivers, is "what pulled" Jerry West back to L.A., according to Broderick Turner of the L.A. TIMES. Ballmer and Wong, friends since their college days at Harvard, were "instrumental in pulling off the coup to get West." Wong once had a small ownership stake with the Warriors and "saw how West worked wonders in his six years with that team, helping turn" the Warriors into "today’s NBA power." Wong "persisted, and West finally relented." West said that an "agreement for him to work for the Clippers is in place ... but no contract had been signed." West: "For me, life is about passion. Life is about being around people you want to be around. In my meeting with Steve and Dennis Wong, they were great. ... (Ballmer) is going to be one of the great owners that this league has." West said that he "came away impressed with their vision." He "liked the front office that's spearheaded" by Clippers Exec VP/Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank. West said, "I will really miss that Warriors organization. I really will. But honestly, there was nothing left for me to do." West's son, Lakers Dir of Player Personnel Ryan West, "probably will join the Clippers in some capacity" (L.A. TIMES, 6/16).

SOMETHING NEW:'s Rob Mahoney noted the challenges of "maintaining the league’s most well-oiled machine are apparently not so interesting to West." West, now 79, might "not be in a position to run a team himself anymore." Still he "clearly loves the grind of improvement and the boldness involved in making moves." Consultancy is "perfect for him." West is "not the sort of executive to be around the team constantly, though his voice is always heard when it matters." He brings "clout, experience, and most of all: intelligent dissent." Former Warriors coach Mark Jackson was so "put off by West’s demeanor that he requested that West not attend practices or team functions." Yet in the collaborative environment fostered by coach Steve Kerr and Warriors GM & President of Basketball Operations Bob Myers, West "brought a valuable, counterbalancing skepticism." West is a "prestige hiring for a franchise without much of it -- both around the league and within the region." His name "means something." His input "means even more, particularly for a franchise that could use a little dissent in its ranks" (, 6/15). ESPN's Byron Scott said West has "touched gold" everywhere he has gone in his front-office career. Scott: "The best move the Clippers have made since they moved to Los Angeles was getting Jerry West." ESPN's Amin Elhassan said West "brings legitimacy" to the Clippers ("The Jump," ESPN, 6/15).

COMING HOME? In California, Mark Heisler writes no one "imagined it would be the Clippers who brought West home." No one is "sure what he was making" with the Warriors. But a source guessed that he was making $1M. Assuming the Clippers have "agreed to pay" him $2-3M, that is "chump change in an age in which teams get" almost $90M in national TV revenue. Those are paired with "huge local deals ($120 million for the Lakers, $50 million for the Clippers)." For what it is worth, the Lakers are "no longer the fat cats in town." The Clippers "charge more than they do for the courtside seats that Jack Nicholson, et al., sit in." West's "greatest gift is the big picture." Heisler: "Unfortunately for the Clippers, they have the same problem everyone in the league does -- the Warriors" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 6/16). ESPN's LZ Granderson said of the West move, "The only thing I question is what -- again -- does this say about the Los Angeles Lakers?" ("SportsNation," ESPN, 6/15).

Predators officials said that during their Stanley Cup Playoffs run, about $2.7M was generated for the city of Nashville through "ticket, merchandise and concession sales." In Nashville, Natalie Neysa Alund noted for the first time in franchise history, the team "sold out all 41 regular season home games and all 11 home playoff games." In addition, the Predators had the "most successful ticket sales season and the highest renewal rate to date" (, 6/15).

THE TIME HAS COME: In Pittsburgh, Joe Starkey wrote it will be "a mistake" if Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is not included in the "builders" category when the Hockey HOF Selection Committee votes on June 26. Rutherford belongs with the "great builders of his era." Starkey: "Maybe any era. And he belongs now." Rutherford is the only post-1967-expansion GM to win Stanley Cups with different teams. A mere eight GMs in league history have "won more championships than his three" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 6/15).

QUICK HOMECOMING: The Islanders announced they will open their preseason Sept. 17 by playing host to the Flyers at NYCB Live, "home of the newly refurbished Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum." In N.Y., Brett Cyrgalis notes the Islanders "haven’t been back to the Coliseum since they left for Brooklyn’s Barclays Center" after the '14-15 season. The Coliseum just underwent a $165M renovation by Forest City Ratner Chair & CEO Bruce Ratner. The NHL has "confirmed no regular-season games will be played this season at the downsized Coliseum, which now has a capacity of 13,900 for hockey games" (N.Y. POST, 6/16).

In S.F., Bodley, Ravani & Rubenstein report Warriors co-Owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber pledged to reimburse the city of Oakland "for the cost of staging" the team's championship parade and rally on Thursday. It was "not immediately known what the tab for that would run." Fans stood "20 deep" in some areas and overall "numbered in the hundreds of thousands, maybe a million, maybe more." BART said that its patronage for the day "was on pace to surpass the 548,000 riders it accommodated for the Warriors’ 2015 victory parade, but probably would not break the all-time record of 568,000 riders from the 2012 Giants’ World Series victory parade" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/16).

HOOK, LINE & SINKER: FAN RAG SPORTS' Jon Heyman cited sources as saying that at least one other viable prospective Marlins owner "has entered the picture," joining Derek Jeter and Tagg Romney. Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria reportedly has been asking $1.3B, and sources said that current regime continues to "insist they expect to get close to that asking price, though it’s possible there could be accommodations made considering some of the financial commitments, including player contracts" (, 6/15).

LEAVING ON A JET PLANE: The NFL Jets announced the creation of the Jets Boarding Pass, an all-new, 100% mobile pass allowing fans to attend every '17 home game and sit in a different seat each time. The Jets are the first NFL team to offer fans a season-long mobile subscription. The pass is sponsored by JetBlue, and holders will be notified of their seat location upon arrival to the stadium or within two hours of kickoff. Tickets are non-refundable, and up to six passes can be purchased together (Jets).

HARD ROCK THE VOTE:'s James Walker noted the Dolphins are "aiming to have every player on their roster registered to vote in time for National Registration Day on Sept. 27." If they achieve their goal, Bill Wachtel and Martin Luther King III of the Drum Major Institute said that the Dolphins "would be the first team in professional sports history to do so." Wachtel said that the Dolphins "already are at" approximately 90%. The Dolphins' goal is to "influence other athletes and teams to register to vote" (, 6/15).