Or, Did Anthony Davis Do Something To Peter Thiel?
Billionaires control things in ways we can’t see. That is ludicrously apparent in politics with Super PACS, which can spend unlimited sums to help elect officials to do a contributor’s bidding. The billionaire’s long reach and influence is also in the news this week because of billionaire Peter Thiel’s admission that he has funded Hulk Hogan’s invasion of privacy lawsuit against the digital media enterprise Gawker. Gawker allegedly angered Thiel ten years ago and Thiel’s financial support of Hogan’s case is part of a Thiel campaign of vengeance against Gawker.
If billionaires can choose who becomes a senator and also which media outlets are allowed to publish what, then where else is their influence felt? NBA player and New Orleans Pelicans franchise star Anthony Davis was passed over for All-NBA team honors this week. Because of complex contractual parameters commonly called the Rose Rule, Davis would have been given a bonus of $24.8 million had he been selected. Being passed over, he’s still left with his handsome $120 million deal — but he loses out on nearly $25 million. 129 sportswriters and broadcasters make up a panel that votes for the All-NBA teams. An interested billionaire who didn’t want Davis to get that money could give $100,000 to each of them and still spend only $12.9 million. That’s just half of Davis’ bonus. The average sportswriter makes $49,000 a year. (The people who vote for All-NBA, however, aren’t the average.) That’s not to say that something like this happened. It didn’t. (Repeat, this did not happen.) But it makes clear the perils of tying a contract to the fickle judgment of outsiders who can be influenced, instead of tying compensation exclusively to on-court performance. Consider this:
Anthony Davis was selected to All-NBA First Team last year (2014-15), yet did not make even the third team this year. The year he was First Team he averaged 24.4 points per game. This year, when he failed to register with voters, he averaged 24.3 points per game — a 00.1 difference. With 10.3 rebounds per game this season, Davis actually improved slightly on his First Team season, when he averaged 10.2.