It would be easy, albeit incorrect, to say that money and major sports are “married.” They’re not. Oh, they’re involved, but this is not a healthy relationship; sports is subservient to a fault, acquiescing at every opportunity to please their master while money is constantly threatening to walk out unless sports gives up the butt. Sports takes it, of course, because sports believes it’s there to make money happen and that’s all. But at long last, money, have you no shame? Is this not too far? Has your foolish overreach not scarred sports forever?
(’Allo, I’m a cartoon gecko. I’ve been given a disarming English accent to try to sell you car insurance. My company is the worst thing to happen to the NBA since Kermit Washington wrecked Rudy Tomjanovich’s face.)
Sporting enthusiasts, cynics and naifs alike, were thrilled when the NBA announced that it was adding a game of Horse to its All-Star weekend. You know what Horse is; I don’t have to explain it to you. But joy quickly gave way to horror today when, as the USA TODAY reports, sponsorship hit a loathsome new low:
[It] shouldn’t surprise — especially as all sports are scrambling to find new places to hang “for sale” signs given the current economy — that the NBA’s first H-O-R-S-E contest won’t use those letters.
As that contest joins dunking and three-point shooting contests as part of TNT’s NBA All-Star Weekend coverage, the as-yet unnamed three contestants — who’ll be overseen by an NBA ref — will play G-E-I-C-O. As in the insurance company that will be the event’s unavoidable sponsor.
Whoever thought this one up should be thrown into a volcano. Then we send the volcano into space where it gets hit by a comet. A comet made of bees.
Horse is one of the sport of basketball’s most venerable traditions. It’s a playground and driveway classic, and the inspirado behind the best basketball-related commercial of all time.
And that’s what we sports fans want to see. We want to see “H-O-R-S-E,” not “M-O-N-E-Y-W-H-O-R-E.” And yes, we get that these things take sponsorship money and the companies want something in return. But it doesn’t have to be laid so bare, naked and ugly, in front of the viewers. Just because I order a steak doesn’t mean the chef is obligated to murder the cow in front of me, after all.
We’re begging you, Geico. Get your money’s worth of good will, show a shred of respect for the sport, and change the name back. And if you don’t, we’re convincing every SbB reader to wreck their cars, take your payout, then immediately cancel their claims. We don’t take threats to basketball lightly.