In 1991, the NBA banned its member franchises from posting hard-liquor ads anywhere they could appear on camera. The rationale, I guess, is that hoops fans would drink themselves into the grave if they saw a player check into the game in front of a Jack Daniels logo. Owners were denying themselves a revenue stream, but come on... who can think of money when the health of America is at stake? Enjoy basketball soberly, or not at all!
Of course, social responsibility is easier to fake observe when times are flush. When, on the other hand, business sucks and the economy is spiraling backward to a medieval barter system, maybe you start taking those calls from the Captain Morgan marketing department. That's what the league concluded, in any case, in rescinding the ban earlier this year. I haven't noticed that a resulting wave of alcoholism has brought the country to its knees, but then again I rarely leave my parents' basement.
On Thursday, as reported by NYSportsJournalism, the Lakers got some of that action, announcing a sponsorship deal involving that most seductive of adult beverages: tequila.
The Lakers said they have signed a multimillion dollar deal with Proximo Spirits that includes TV, print, outdoor and Internet incorporating the team logo to support super-premium 1800 Silver Tequila. . . .
"Our goal is to ensure that Lakers games are the most enjoyable and exciting games to watch," Tim Harris, CMO for the Los Angeles Lakers, said in a statement. "Through this groundbreaking partnership, 1800 will provide Lakers fans with the familiar flavor of the super-premium spirit and a variety of beverage choices to enjoy while celebrating courtside, while ensuring that we communicate responsible drinking."
Preach it, Brother Tim! I've had the pleasure of sampling 1800 and confirm that it is some tasty-ass sauce. If there isn't a Gran Reserva Edicion Los Lakers for me to enjoy soon, someone at Proximo isn't doing their job.
Of course, not everyone shares my enthusiasm. Sigh...
Several consumer groups, including the American Society of Addiction Medicine and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, have sought to have the NBA reinstate the ban.
Yeah, what the hell ever. No one's suggesting we circulate trays of shots at high-school dances. In fact, the terms of my probation expressly say I can't do that, so stop your worrying.
Besides, what could possibly go wrong with fans consuming a cocktail or two during the game? Mr. Artest will back me up on this.
(Oh, uh... enjoy responsibly. Or something.)