Thursday, May 22, 2008

Basketball and Business

It is the heart of the NBA playoffs and the Lakers just won Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. It is hard not to be smiling when the Lakers are doing well. I just was thinking, though, if there is any similarities between basketball teams and business, and I started coming up with some superficial analogies. Most sports-business analogies compare sports positions to corporate positions (e.g. the quarterback is like the CEO), so I am not going to do that. I am just going to compare random analogies to tech companies. And in nerdy fashion, I am going to make the comparisons in SAT analogies format.

Kobe Bryant:NBA fans:: Apple:PC owners
Apple made a huge splash when they first came on the scene and pretty much had meteoric growth for their first decade of existence. Kobe came onto the scene in much the same fashion, earning a spot on the NBA All-Star team in his second season, while only a 6th man on the Lakers. Then both fell out of fashion. Apple started putting out dismal products like the Newton and had PCs that were only useful to graphic designers. But diehard Apple fans continued using their products (and I still know people who continue to use their brick-sized Newton). Likewise Kobe kind of fell out of favor when he was accused of rape. While the accusation seemed dubious, the fact is that he committed adultery and most people weren't too happy about that. The Lakers also stopped being a title contender and Kobe went through this period where he did some strange things like tattooing "Black Mamba" onto his arm.

Fast-forward to 2008 and both Apple and Kobe are high flyers in their respective communities. Everyone wants an iPhone and Kobe just won the season MVP award. when I started this post I had a lot of analogies in mind, but I now have 10 emails in my inbox that I need to take care of. I'll leave you with one of the analogies that I really liked and let you fill in the description yourself:

Grant Hill:Dukies :: Linux:techies

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