It was reported last week that the cost for a family of four to go to an average NBA game has risen 11% from last season, to $266.61. Wait, wait, wait! Can that be true—$266 to see an average NBA game? Like, say, the New Jersey Nets versus the L.A. Clippers? Two hundred sixty-six zops? For a family of four? Which family, the Rockefellers?
Do you have any idea what you could do with $266? You could buy 8,866 quarter-inch hex nuts (three cents apiece). You could ride a penny pony 26,600 times. You and your kid could go to a matinee of Pok�mon ($4 a ticket) 30 times and still have enough left over for six bottles of Excedrin ($4 each).
For $266 you could rent a car from Alamo for two days ($30 a day), have it painted at Earl Scheib's ($199), return it and see if anybody notices. You could spend eight minutes in a room alone with naked former Playboy Bunny Ten Weigel ($2,000 an hour) at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch near Carson City, Nev. Or buy 26 bunnies from Critters Corner in Louisville, Colo.
Are they buggin'? Two hundred sixty-six dollars? An 11% hike in ticket prices for a league in which scoring dropped eight points a game last season? Since when did the price of sucking go up?
For $266 you could sponsor a kid through Save the Children (79 cents per day) for nearly a year. You could buy 169 homeless people Thanksgiving dinner at the downtown soup kitchen ($1.57 each). You could slip a quarter to a panhandler every day for almost three years.
You could buy a 10-by-12 storage shed ($250) and fill it with 120 cubic feet of feathers. Swallow 967 hot dogs (package of 80 for $10.99) slathered with 2,580 ounces of French's mustard ($2.68 per 52-ounce bottle). If the idea of spending $266 on an NBA game makes you want to york, think about this: You could buy 450 York Peppermint Pattys (59 cents apiece) for that.
Instead of watching some of the ball hogs in the NBA, you could enroll in the Swine Production and Management class at Des Moines Community College ($190.20) and buy eight doses of swine semen ($64) from Premier Swine in Michigantown, Ind. You talk about family fun!
This is just an average cost. To see the New York Knicks play at Madison Square Garden, it's $455.26! Four hundred fifty-five dollars? You could fly round-trip from Minneapolis to Mazatl�n and get four nights' lodging ($396.90, MLT Vacations), bring your sunburn home and lie in a bathtub full of Miracle Whip ($5.99 a gallon) for that!
A puny lobster-salad sandwich at Boston's FleetCenter costs $10! Ten dollars? For $10 I want my lobster to do a reverse 2� into a pot of boiling water while whistling the theme from The Little Mermaid.
The NBA needs to take a long look at what's going on here. I know a guy who became an NBA fan as a kid by watching Bill Russell on Sundays at Boston Garden from a $2 balcony seat. You don't see kids at NBA games now. All you see now are guys in Zegna suits and women in Donna Karan, drinking highballs, talking to one another on their cells and leaving early on a river of corporate ooze.