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Type in “Larry Fleisher NBA” in any search engine and two types of results come up:
On page two is my twitter page but on page one are archived stories such as this one:
Sports Illustrated: NBA players counsel Fleisher wears a second hat
You Tube: Larry Fleisher and the Salary Cap
Google books: If Larry Fleisher didn’t found the NBA players association, he certainly empowered it.
Not everyone in the NBA and basketball circles has noticed that I share the same name with the former NBA labor leader, but there have been a few times that people have.
For example, new commissioner Adam Silver certainly noticed. Our brief introduction came courtside on Feb. 28 before the Warriors played the Knicks.
I introduced myself and he literally did a double take with his facial reaction as he shook my hand. Then came the next question and that was: Are you related?
Back when he was coaching in Charlotte in 2007, Bernie Bickerstaff asked the same question. Others also have asked and the answer is no: not even to his sons Eric and Mark Fleisher, who have gone into the NBA agent business.
So who is the more prominent Larry Fleisher?
If you know anything about the NBA’s labor history, especially in the David Stern era than Larry Fleisher (not me), at the request of Tommy Heinsohn in 1962 helped found the NBA player’s association. His impact helped the players secure pensions, a minimum salary and disability pay and he made his point with a strike of the All-Star game while also helping Bill Bradley secure a four-year, $750,000 deal, which at the time was the largest in league history.
He also was at the forefront of getting free agency in 1976, which was the same time that baseball had its reserve clause thrown out paving the way for free agency that dominates the winter month. That was the culmination of a six-year challenge of the league’s reserve clause and then in 1983 he held a potentially crippling strike over the league’s head when management wanted givebacks.
This was a time when Bird and Johnson were in their early years and the league was not the giant it is now based on things like NBA finals games being showed on tape delay
Though free agency likely would have happened in some form sooner or later without Larry Fleisher (not me), we wouldn’t have had those daily rumors and speculation of where LeBron James was going to go as a free agent in 2010 or those teams clearing cap space to get him.
After free agency, Larry Fleisher helped negotiate with the league an agreement that gave the players 53 percent of the revenue. In the last agreement, players get 49 to 51 percent of the revenue down from the 57 percent.
I have not done any of those things in the NBA but my watching has benefitted from Larry Fleisher’s actions in labor negotiations in the 1980s.
Unfortunately we will never meet since Larry Fleisher died of a heart attack in 1989, but it would be interesting if I ever met his sons, especially after the reaction from the new commissioner.Until then I’ll settle for being the NBA’s other Larry Fleisher, a writer about the game and a stat man to various members of the NBA broadcasting world
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It’s a half-hour before opening tip-off at Madison Square Garden and Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett are rehearsing.
Yes, despite the spontaneous plays that often unfold in NBA arenas, a television broadcast has a production feel to it and when you hear that opening introduction with an establishing shot of the city a team is in, that has been planned out or scripted.
However, a lot of what viewers hear by an NBA play-by-play announcer is derived from their own preparation notes and information provided by stat guys in every city they visit.
Each person has their own methods.
For me, a combination of index cards and notebooks are the primary work equipment.
The index cards are used to give announcers a mix of basic statistics, runs, and sometimes something relevant to what they might be talking about during some down time such as the opening seconds following a timeout or during an idle moment at the foul line. When you hear an announcer say something like that’s a 16-2 run or Stephen Curry has made his last five shots, chances are he’s reading off my index card.
The notebook is used to keep accurate play-by-play. There, I’m writing four things - who scored, what the basket was, the time remaining and the score.
For example, let’s say, Curry hits a 20-foot jumper and that puts Golden State up 54-42 with 6:40 remaining. It would read as follows: “Curry, 20-foot j, 6:40, GSW 54-42.”
Besides that shorthand, most nights you get some assistance with a stat monitor, which is a television set that has the box score as the game goes on and at the bottom it lists each play. It’s the same thing that you’ll see on the official game book that’s available on NBA.com.
However, you should also track points since you never know when it might not work and that happened on Dec. 8 when I worked with Tommy Heinsohn and Mike Gorman on the Celtics’ broadcast. The monitor was out of commission the entire afternoon and in hindsight it seemed appropriate since the Knicks were not working either in a 41-point loss
All of this is done without benefit of a computer, simply because at many locations there’s not room on the broadcast table. This is also the case because the action is moving too fast to keep clicking on the internet box score to confirm something.
So if you do this, you’re really watching the game.
You might notice things such as a how a team might not get back on defense or how they struggle moving around picks.
Unfortunately you can’t track that simply because you’re tracking many other things, so let’s leave that to the assistant coaches or scouts but I can tell you that happened many times for the Knicks in their 126-103 loss to the Warriors Friday night.
Besides the play-by-play, I’ll also keep track of misses because announcers like to know about those streaks and this specific night the Knicks had 13 straight misses in the third quarter.
During the first half Friday, the Warriors jumped out to a double-digit lead but seemed to be threatened when the Knicks were within 51-42 with about 6 ½ minutes left. At that point, Barnett and Fitzgerald were curious to see how the Warriors would finish off the half, so hearing that, I knew that’s something they might want to know at halftime -- good or bad.
Since I knew to keep track of the close to the half, I was able to hand them an index card as soon as the final buzzer sounded and it read something like this. “In last 6:40 of first half, 22-10 Warriors,” with special note to indicate it came after the Knicks were within 51-42.
As the broadcast continues and the game gets more lopsided, there becomes more down time. Part of it was spent talking about the impending free agency of Carmelo Anthony with some light-hearted banter about the situation.
However, in the final quarter there was a serious situation with Tyson Chandler got fed up with Marreese Speights, though he’ll say it’s more a reflection on how the season has gone for the Knicks. The two players moved around and inched closer to the broadcast table and I wondered if it would spill over to my position.
Fortunately it doesn’t and the Warriors continue cruising. At the end of the night, the announcers offer their thanks and appreciation, which is good in a league that’s about forming relationships just as much as it’s about basketball.
Besides people like me and the announcers, there’s other things that shape the broadcast you see at home.
There’s a director and producer inside the truck ensuring that the graphics you see on the screen get beamed back to your HD-TV.
Ever wonder how the play-by-play announcer knows when to read something like come out for Andre Iguodala bobble-head night?
The answer is simple, sitting next to the analyst is a man with a headset and a series of index cards that contain the text. The cards are all numbered and each time a read has to be made the stage manager hands them a card.
The stage manager is also responsible for setting up the opening scene. That’s the moment when the telecast starts and the announcers are on the court setting the scene for the game.
That usually gets pre-recorded after a few rehearsal readings and this night the obvious opening storyline was what will Curry do at MSG, where, despite the dysfunction of the home team, announcers still hold the arena in high regard.
Last year I was working Golden State radio when Curry scored 54 points on 16-of-28 shooting, doing so while playing all 48 minutes after missing five of his first seven shots and highlights of that game were played as the announcers talk.
We don’t know that the Warriors won’t need that type of game from Curry, but it’s certainly discussed, as is the disappointment of the Knicks, who rightfully so got chided for their lack of defense Friday night.
Then the opening tip goes off and it’s show time.
Two and a half hours later, the postgame is done and another night in the world of NBA broadcasting has concluded.