Michael Jordan had a “love of the game” clause in his contract that allowed him to play basketball anywhere, anytime he wanted. Most players don’t have that. They’re too valuable. That’s why some owners don’t like the idea of USA basketball–their precious assets are at risk and there’s nothing in it for them. Understandable, especially after what happened to Paul George this summer. (George snapped his leg brutally during a Team USA scrimmage, leaving the Indiana Pacers to pay him millions while he tries to recover and get back to his superstar status–an unlikely prospect.)
Now imagine if you’re Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. You went on a spending spree this summer to put together a championship contender, bringing in all-universe LeBron James and all-star Kevin Love to join your current brilliant young star Kyrie Irving. You’re pumped for the season–out of your mind with anticipation, really–and you, owner Dan Gilbert, are having a nice brunch when someone sends you this Vine (below). It shows your superstar max-contract point guard Irving playing nerf hoops in his mansion and flying through the air for a slam (in his socks!) after which he crashes to the ground in a heap. It’s a superfreak slam. What an athlete. But remember–you’re Dan Gilbert. Your heart goes into your stomach. You call Irving. You drive over and rip down the hoop in Irving’s house. Of course, there’s part of you that’s pretty excited that after playing basketball all day and all night what Kyrie Irving wants to do most when he gets home is play more basketball. But the other, way bigger part of you says stop!