You Guys Should Watch Moneyball
By: Sam Hinkie


I've taken a lot of grief over some of my decisions in running the Philadelphia 76ers in these last couple of years. I know my methods are not the popular choice in rebuilding a team but I do want to let all of our fans know, first and foremost, that I have seen these types of radical rebuilding strategies work in movies so I feel confident in my reassuring year after year. One of those movies that it works in is Moneyball, this really good indie flick starring Brad Pitt that I watched last night with my wife. The movie basically encapsulates everything I've been trying to do, to instill in our organization, and, most importantly, how I live my own life.

A lot of people don't know very much about me and, admittedly, most of that is my own fault. People are highly aware of my checkered past when I robbed that 7-11 and opted to steal lottery tickets rather than any of the money on the premises and it's for this reason that I've decided to keep Sam Hinkie's life to himself. I have pets, a french bulldog and a cockatiel, which my wife and I chose instead of children. I root for the underdogs in every movie, like Leaving Las Vegas and Downfall (it's a foreign film, another interest of mine. They're just a bit better, I think). My wife and I rent rather than own our home. I'm a bit crazy when it comes getting good value out of our money, something my better half likes to remind me of every quite often, especially when this salesman at Best Buy (who was being ignored by EVERYONE, by the way, even though he had all of these great deals) told us that if we just financed a Microsoft Surface tablet (which I'm using right now!) with my new Best Buy credit card then I could get ten individual HDMI cables 10% off. If you think like I do, you do the analytics in your head pretty quickly and that takes the overall price of those cables down to $900 and then if I finance the tablet with no money down, I'm only leaving Best Buy $900 poorer and owing them a mere $1300, only having to pay them $350 in interest over a period of two years. Obviously it's a... slam dunk. Look, I'm not here to plug my book on puns that's coming out next month at Brookstone. I'm here to discuss basketball to the layman.

To run a basketball team can be hard work, depending on who you ask, but, obviously, that isn't the case for everyone and I have to say I fall into that category. WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER reads a plaque that was given to me by an old friend of mine. I don't know what it means but I think I got the gist of it once I was hired to take the reins of this team. There are a million different ways I can go in trying to explain my thought process but the best and least confusing for the common man that I can think of is a story that occurred just a few hours ago. I went for my morning jog when this small group of people had set up a table in front of Supremo Supermarket giving information on how to sponsor children in Africa for just $10 per month. I've always been thrilled with the idea of helping the less fortunate but I thought that the price was a bit steep, as I'd just seen another guy down the road who said he could do the SAME EXACT THING for $9 per month. Here's the thing, though. He said he had a large amount of children who needed food and it wasn't in Africa (I forget where it was. The details are not important. First rule in business, by the way) and there's a little thing that's muttered in business meetings that I've seen in movies: Buy in bulk. So I told the guy that I'd sponsor 100 children and now there are children somewhere who are going to be fed and I saved a bit of money. We all win, and the best business transactions have no winner, much like basketball trades. I look for undervalued assets and methods of winning in basketball and in life, just like the film Moneyball preaches.

Obviously I make quite a bit of money so I have the option of outright purchasing my vehicles but I choose to finance them so that, as I'm leaving the lot, I haven't spent much money. I get the extended warranty just in case I do something to the car, which happens a lot, believe it or not. The deductible goes up each time and I didn't understand that but the salesman broke the math down for me and showed me some very interesting figures that I'd never considered. Naturally, like most in high positions like mine, I'm a bit skeptical (do we really know what happened to the Twin Towers?) but I plugged the figures into my calculator watch and they checked out. I drove off that lot with all of the money I brought with me still in my pocket and a feeling of satisfaction because I got what I wanted (my Prius - I care about the environment) and the salesman got a much-needed sale. I knew he needed that sale because I overheard the salesman say to his boss in the next cubicle over that his kids were hungry and this sale would be so beneficial. Another business tip - establish relationships. If I'd hadn't brokered the deal with feeding those kids on the cheap then I never would have bought my Prius because they were the same savvy businessman. I've never seen a harder-working man in my life and I don't even know his name! When he comes around at my favorite restaurant, immediately walks by every other patron in the place and comes to ME to sell roses to my wife, I know that I'm doing something right. Where else can you get a dozen thorn-less roses for $20 in this economy? I turned around and sold those roses for $10 gas credit at Sunoco because I was in a hurry to make sure I didn't miss the previews at the movie theater but look, that's $10 in gas credit that I didn't have before.

So that's it, really. There's a lot of math involved, along with a great deal of critical thinking, but you can acquire assets in life and get more in return as long as you keep your eyes open. Earlier this week I gave my nephew $1,500 so that he could get a body kit for his car and a really cool looking spoiler. A lot of people don't know this about cars but if you have a spoiler it makes the car drive better. Anyway, I was skeptical, of course (Why are we still mutilating our own baby boys's genitals?) but $1,500 so that my nephew can drive a little safer (the car is lower to the ground so it won't tip over) and get himself a really good girlfriend and have children, which cost like $3 million to raise nowadays, and 3 million is a much bigger number than 1,500. I could just sell a draft pick to cover the cost of raising him haha. Kidding, of course.

The Philadelphia 76ers will be fine.

Follow Emilio Escobar on Twitter