Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 181


The Cowboys "didn't have a full house" for their first training camp practice at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco yesterday, drawing an announced crowd of 6,052, according to Drew Davison of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. The team had been "expecting a sold-out crowd." But even though attendance was "smaller than expected," yesterday was the "third-best attended training camp practice this season." The Cowboys "drew 7,671 fans on July 30 and 7,407 fans on July 29" in Oxnard, Calif., their only weekend dates this year. Davison notes this is the "first time the Cowboys have held training camp" in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Meanwhile, the Cowboys announced that a ticket would "not be required to attend the five additional training camp practices." Tickets will "still be honored and fans with them are guaranteed admission, but a ticket is not required for entry." Admission and parking is free (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/22). Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said, "It really was a function that we dreamed out when we were putting The Star together. ... That this would be an excellent experience that so many fans in the Dallas area haven’t gotten to be part of, the training camp. We didn’t have the facilities for it." Jones "reiterated his commitment" to Oxnard for Cowboys training camp, and there is "little question he enjoys the visibility just a few dozen miles north of Hollywood." The AP's Schuyler Dixon reported the Cowboys are "committed to Oxnard next year, followed by a two-year option" (AP, 8/21).

: In Dallas, Barry Horn reports the Cowboys yesterday "unveiled their Ring of Honor Walk" at The Star. There are 21 members of the Ring, which "before creation of the Walk had been the exclusive property first of Texas Stadium and then AT&T Stadium." Sixteen of the 17 living members of the Ring of Honor "attended a late-morning ceremony, which included the unveiling of honorees' unmistakable portraits on crescents lining opposite sides of the plaza leading up to the Ford Center, as well as individual monuments on the plaza level topped with large blue jersey numerals" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/22).'s Todd Archer noted the "only Ring of Honor member not in attendance or represented by a family member was Larry Allen." After the ceremony, the players and families of those in attendance "joined the current players for a lunch prior to practice at the Ford Center." Cowboys coach Jason Garrett "tries to get the current and former players to mingle as much as possible at different times during the year" (, 8/21).

Thunder F Paul George being traded from the Pacers this offseason "wasn't exactly a launching point" for Thunder ticket sales, according to Erik Horne of the OKLAHOMAN. But it is "hard to receive a boost when you've maintained the popularity" the Thunder have, even with the arrival of George. Thunder Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Brian Byrnes said, "That really doesn't change when you acquire Paul George because there wasn't really a lot of inventory available to sell or to market, which is a really good sign." Byrnes said that for the last seven seasons the Thunder have had a "season-ticket renewal rate" between 94-96%. Following F Kevin Durant's departure to the Warriors in free agency in the summer of '16, it remained at 96% and is at 94% "going into this season." For the Thunder, moments like the draft or a "massive trade acquisition don't deliver run-to-the-box office impact since there's simply not ticket inventory available." Byrnes: "The question of how do we see the impact of Paul George on the business ... we're probably not there yet. There'll be an opportunity in the fall when merchandise sales, where television ratings might be indicators." He added, "We've seen a lot of demand for Paul George t-shirts and those things, but sometime around training camp or so we'll be able to show what the last two or three months have looked like and the impact" (OKLAHOMAN, 8/20).

CAN'T TAKE A JOKE? In L.A., Mark Whicker writes the NBA's investigation into whether the Lakers tampered with George has "become the definition of tampering, apparently." You might as well "punish an ostrich for burying his head." The investigation came after Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson made an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in April. When Johnson was asked what would happen if he encountered George he said, "I can’t say I want you [to] come to the Lakers, even though I’ll be doing this," and started wink-winking. Whicker: "That was a big laugh line, of course, and if you watch the video you wonder if the NBA office should maybe take up meditation or soft-tissue massage or other chill-out activities." This "did not rise to the level of corporate raiding" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/22). NBC Sports Bay Area's Ray Ratto said, “If the Lakers get punished, it will only be because they were clumsy at it. The reason why they were clumsy at it was because Magic Johnson's been a general manager for 18 minutes" ("The Happy Hour," NBC Sports Bay Area, 8/21). ESPN's Marcellus Wiley: "Magic's just in a tricky position, a former player who's now a team president" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 8/21). TNT's Charles Barkley said, "I'd be very surprised if they had anything on Magic. ... It's like one of the worst kept secrets in the world, Paul George wants to go to the Lakers next summer" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 8/22).

GO AHEAD, FINE US: ESPN's Ramona Shelburne said the investigation began partially because the Lakers have been "very brazen talking ... openly" about trying to add George. She said the Lakers were "almost daring Indiana or other teams" to file a tampering complaint. The L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke: "There’s no way the NBA is going to do anything about it because everybody tampers all the time” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 8/21). FS1's Eric Davis said, "Should the league view this as tampering? Yes. Should Magic have avoided this? Yes. Are they going to punish him? No. ... The Lakers not being good is bad for the league” (“Speak for Yourself,” FS1, 8/21). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver "understands that the Lakers, not the Pacers, are intrinsic to the success of the league" ("PTI," ESPN, 8/21).

Clippers adviser Jerry West said working for his new team is "completely different" than working for the Warriors because there is a "different ownership style," according to a Q&A with Tim Kawakami of THE ATHLETIC. West added, "You get used to certain people and then you really have to, not adjust, not that word, it's almost like re-acquainting yourself with people." Below are excerpts from the Q&A, some of which have been edited for brevity. 

Q: What's your relationship like with owner Steve Ballmer?
West: We don’t have a lot of conversations. Earlier we had a lot of conversations, but not lately. He’s really a good guy. A lot of ways he reminds me of the kind of owners that you want, somebody who’s really committed to trying to build a team. He’s smart, he lets people do their job, he doesn’t think he’s someone who wants to run the team.

Q: How hard was it to walk away from the Warriors? 
West: Frankly it was very sad, OK? It really was. A place where I thought that if I was going to work another year or if somebody wanted me to work another year, I thought I could contribute; I did not want to leave. I did not want to leave. I was very happy there.

Q: Did you ever think you might end up back with the Lakers, not the Clippers?
West: Absolutely not. I had no contact with the Lakers. Honestly, I would’ve never gone back there even if they would’ve contacted me. Never had any conversations, never had a desire there. I knew that would’ve never happened.

Q: You did so much work helping set the path for the new arena in S.F., but you're leaving years before it'll open. Are you curious enough to come back when it opens?
West: I will never go into that arena. I shouldn’t go into it. But I think it’s going to be ... I’ve seen the plans, and it’s spectacular. A lot of creative thinking has gone on with that organization. I think for the people who want the best, they’re going to get it. It’ll be filled with hopefully a great team for a few years (, 8/21).

In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde reported if the sale of the Marlins "closes by April (and it should), it will mean tens of millions for the public coffers." Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria has to share 5% of any sales profits with the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County if he "closes before then, according to a payout provision in the stadium deal." The new ownership group led by Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman purchased the Marlins for $1.2B, meaning the public would get $65M "back." Any debt, cost in closing the sale and taxes paid on the sale can be "discounted from the amount the Marlins must declare" (, 8/21).

: In Toronto, Damien Cox writes as the Blue Jays contemplate "where to turn after this disappointing season, there’s this belief among some media and fans that Jays management and ownership won’t dare institute a youth movement or take a significant step back" in the AL East. There is "fear attendance and overall interest will quickly and almost immediately deteriorate" to '10 levels. But just because "losing and extended mediocrity hurt attendance once doesn’t mean the same thing will happen again." One could "argue this is a very new and different Jays fan culture we’re witnessing that goes to ball games" home and away because they "like baseball and love their team, and not just when it’s winning." If the Blue Jays "articulate a clear game plan of moving towards youth that will require some patience, their fans won’t abandon them" (TORONTO STAR, 8/22).

STRONG STANCE: Red Sox Owner John Henry last week suggested that Yawkey Way should be renamed, and ESPNW's Kavitha Davidson wrote it is a "refreshingly strong stance -- one that simultaneously confronts the team's problematic history while still recognizing its longstanding heritage." Davidson: "Similarly, renaming Yawkey Way wouldn't wipe away decades of the Red Sox's past, but it would mark the progress the city and team has made since, while providing an ideal of equality for which to strive" (, 8/21).'s Art Martone wrote the "thrust of Henry's statement -- the Yawkey name is a symbol of baseball racism, and we should distance ourselves from it -- is hard to stand against" (, 8/18).