#TheFrugalFan Interview with the legendary Pat Williams of the Orlando Magic

Pat Williams, the Orlando Magic executive enshrined in the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame, recently interviewed me for his weekly in-depth radio talk show. Williams is famous for landing the top lottery pick in the 1992 and 1993 NBA drafts (first and only time a team has done this back to back) and using the successive #1 picks on Shaquille O’Neal and Chris Webber (and then immediately trading the latter for Penny Hardaway).

During the half-hour program I shared a bunch of amusing tales from my NBA-hopping sojourn, as well as some golden tips to use in the ticket hunting trade.

The interview took place in two parts:

Segment one:

and Segment two:

Off air, I couldn’t resist the temptation to ask Williams, who has 35 years of pro-basketball experience management under his belt following a brief stint as a Minor-League baseball player, a question of my own. If he could do it all over again, would he have kept Chris Webber and let him play with Shaq to form the most fearsome frontcourt in the NBA, rather than trade him for an upstart point guard?

Williams did not stop to think about it. “No,” he said firmly. “People forget how great a player Penny Hardaway was, and we needed a point guard. Unfortunately his career was affected early by injuries to both his knees, but for a few years he was one of the best.”

Indeed, the Magic made it to the NBA finals (where they got swept by Hakeem Olajuwon’s Rockets) in just their second season with Hardaway at point guard. He also won All-NBA first team honors that season.

Ultimately, conversing with industry leaders like Pat Williams is what makes writing books worthwhile.

Beating the NBA is out on Amazon!

Voila! And with Prime delivery even… And a discount (naturally):

http://www.amazon.com/Beating-NBA-Tales-Frugal-Fan/dp/1479264180/ref=la_B00DAIY4LK_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370817056&sr=1-1

It’s all pretty unreal, like finishing a marathon. Thank you everyone for being so supportive, I hope you find it informative and entertaining. That’s been my goal from the outset.

‘Look Inside’ functionality will be in place in a few days, so you’ll be able to read the prologue once it’s uploaded.  Peace out. M

And Finally…The Frugal Fan in Print!

Coming this June, there’s more than just LeBron and the Heat vs. Parker and the Spurs to look forward to.  Beating the NBA is going live.

Yep, as more than a few of my friends have been aware of, I’ve been in the lab formulating this book for the better part of a year.  Writing, editing, interviewing, transcribing, proofing, re-editing, more proofing, formatting… and on it went. Writing a book is hard work!

Well, it takes a lot more work than I realized, to say the least. But at long last, the fruits of my labor are about to materialize.  I’m looking at June 12 as my tentative book release date (to coincide with the NBA finals). Copies will be available on Amazon, with the Kindle edition out about ten days later.

More details will follow shortly. In the meantime, here’s my cover. Thanks to all who helped make it happen!

Front CoverAnd here’s a little promo blurb to whet your appetite, in case you’re wondering   just what this opus is all about:

BEATING THE NBA is a new brand of “Gonzo” sports writing. Bishara is every fan in search of a little live sports entertainment for less than the price of a new Prius. Touring 31 NBA game in three countries, he gets to the bottom of how fans can get the most bang for their buck.

Inside the arena, he brushes with the cultural elite—Kanye West, Donald Trump, Ben Stiller, Will Smith, Jack Nicholson, etc.—while witnessing the genius of a who’s who of NBA icons. Outside the arena, he avoids getting jumped while wheeling and dealing for the best prices for the right to witness “kiss-cams”, $10 beers and the wiles of the “Warrior Girls”… all in person.

BEATING THE NBA covers:

  • Why all thirty NBA teams embraced the secondary market
  • Bishara’s fascinating interview with a nationwide scalper
  • His attendance at the first regular-season game in his hometown of London
  • Extreme cases of ticket mispricing and the answer: dynamic pricing
  • Scalping etiquette
  • The collusion of scalpers
  • The inherent racism of scalping
  • How showing up close to tip-off isn’t always the best strategy for getting low-price tickets
  • How Chicago is probably the roughest place to hustle tickets
  • His take on the 2011 NBA lockout
  • Why Ticketmaster has become our last resort
  • Bishara’s interview with the man who is singlehandedly changing the way teams price tickets: Barry Kahn

Bishara’s prose is sharp and funny as the travel-weary warrior fights the good fight from port to port and coast to coast. In some ways, BEATING THE NBA is the ultimate guide to experiencing the NBA, as Bishara visits many of the premier cities in the nation for the first time. He takes advantage of his time between games to partake of the diverse “local flavor” available at NBA cities by hitting quirky restaurants, checking out live music, and testing the glitzy to grotty nightlife. It’s a travelogue for the hoops set.

Doubleheader in LA (Part Two): Clippers at Lakers roundup

Completely different lighting for Lakers games. Spotlight only on the players during warmups, Hollywood style.

 

I'm so hating this. (surreptitious photo courtesy Amer Ali)

Meanwhile  the game started and i’m still outside. I’m so hating this. (surreptitious photo courtesy Amer Ali)

 

LA Live, expect an hour wait for food before a game

LA Live, expect an hour wait for food before a game

 

Everyone muscling for space down low

Everyone muscling for space down low

 

The sun's always shining in Lala land... until I invariably get lost in the hood.

The sun’s always shining in Lala land… until I invariably get lost in the hood.

 

 

 

Doubleheader in LA (Part One): Wizards at Clippers roundup

Late and nary a scalper in sight

Bright lights for the Clips. This was our view.

People came to see only one player

People came to see only one player

Everything is switched around for Clips games...except for these little things

Courtside in the Capital: Nets at Wizards recap

Elementary students singing national anthem, guaranteed two parents per kid attendance!

 

The national anthem ritual offers a few minutes for scoping out the babes in the crowd.

The national anthem ritual offers a few minutes for scoping out the babes in the crowd.

 

Courtside! Erm... where is everyone?

Courtside! Erm… where is everyone?

6’1 Wall shoots the game winner over 7 footer Lopez

 

Forget the wood paneling, any paneling will do

Forget the wood paneling, any paneling will do

London Calling: Raptors ‘at’ Nets roundup

Zero-tolerance scalper policy in full effect

Zero-tolerance scalper policy in full effect

 

Looks just like a Nets game, only packed!

Looks just like a Nets game, only packed!

 

The Raptor and a member of JLS...who's got more talent?

The Raptor and a member of JLS…who’s got more talent?

 

Is this not a Tourettes inducing situation?

Is this not a Tourettes inducing situation?

 

Deron - your clothes. Give them to me. Now.

Deron – your clothes. Give them to me. Now.

Phoenix Rising: Kings at Suns roundup

Do not try this at 85mph

Do not try this at 85mph

 

I felt blessed

I felt blessed in Sedona

 

Star Wars night in Pheonix!

Star Wars night in Pheonix!

 

Gorilla doing his thing

Gorilla doing his thing

 

I made fast friends with Purpleman and Obi

I made fast friends with Purpleman and Obi

 

And genies too? Everything was happening that night

And genies too? Everything was happening that night

 

 

 

 

Running with the Utes: Suns at Jazz roundup

Is there any point to sitting up here?

Is there any point to sitting up here?

 

More fun than sitting up there!

More fun than sitting up there!

 

This explains everything. Had I only known...

This explains everything. Had I only known…

 

The Mormons knew they were in for good skiing when they settled into Utah.

The Mormons knew they were in for good skiing when they settled into Utah.

 

 

Mile High in Denver: Mavericks at Nuggets recap

The Pepsi Can

The Pepsi Can

Scalpers in Denver come equip with signs saying "I need tickets!"

Scalpers in Denver come equip with signs saying “I need tickets!”

Quiet before the storm. This would become mini-Tahrir

Quiet before the storm. This would become mini-Tahrir once Afflalo hit his game winner

Bowling for...

Most sombre landmark I visited on the tour. Yes, it’s that Columbine, the one from Bowling for..

Denver Airport security assembly line
Denver Airport security assembly line

 

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