In an effort to revive slumping television ratings and lackluster ticket sales, National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern announced today that ticket holders attending Sunday's Clippers/Sonics NBA game will be eligible to receive 40 Los Angeles Lakers and a mule. Stern is hopeful that awarding an entourage of upwards of three dozen tall black males with a docile, sure-footed work animal to one fortunate fan will empower the NBA for years to come.
"In order for our fans to be henceforth and forever free of profit-sucking non-NBA diversions like the PGA and the Internet, we needed to reach out to them," Stern said. "With this major statement, the NBA has said, 'thank you' to our most loyal fans in the most meaningful of ways: by auctioning off 40 of our most treasured possessions, plus a handy beast of burden."
Calling this the "last grand scheme in the reconstruction of the NBA" after last year's civil war between players and owners eroded the league's fan base, Stern explained that as retribution for decades of neglect and economic enslavement, the league will now provide for the perpetual enfranchisement of one token basketball fan.
"Now each American has a chance to own a piece of basketball's proudest franchise, the Los Angeles Lakers," he said. "What's more, with 40 players working in shifts of five, new owners will be able to maximize profits and minimize downtime."
Some long-suffering fans remained unappeased by Stern's pronouncement.
"What a bunch of empty PR crap!" season-ticket holder Duncan Schloss of Newport Beach exclaimed. "Everybody knows there're only 12 Lakers at a time, even if you count Shaq as two. Where the hell are they going to get the other 25? Probably be some unbroken immigrant Laker just off the boat like Kobe who don't wanna work. This is a bullshit move by the NBA to appease the northern franchises."
Schloss conceded that he might be interested in the deal if it included Laker Girls.
Others expressed concern that the new arrangement would not reverse the NBA's sagging television-market share. As Detroit Pistons fan Tyrone Galishaw explained, "I can see why they did it: gotta give these fans something back—make them turn away from Tiger Woods and all—but I dunno if this will make anyone suffer through another Clippers broadcast. Although, to be honest, I wouldn't mind having that mule to help out around the house."
The battle for chattel will be restricted to those the NBA considers its most vital fan base: money-larded Caucasian power brokers ensconced within sealed luxury boxes. After thorough public physicals, including a dental exam, the assembled Lakers and mule will be given away at auction during halftime.