- Brian Windhorst, ESPN.com
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Micky Arison deleted a tweet on Friday night that could have warranted a fine from the NBA.
You can say this for Miami Heat owner Micky Arison: in a time where the NBA is heavy on rhetoric and soaking in veiled dislike he’s refreshingly honest. At least on his Twitter feed.
Arison looks exactly like you’d expect a Miami billionaire to look. He’s has a perpetual tan, untamed flowing hair and a constant smile. He wears his shirts untucked, jeans and leather jackets. He is fantastically wealthy and it shows.
He attends nearly every Heat home game and regularly comes to practices, though he never comes off as overbearing. He hired Pat Riley away from the Knicks -- bending the rules to do so -- and ended up giving him one of the best compensation packages in the history of sports executives to run his team. And he lets him do so and has generally been rewarded for it. Even when the Heat lose, life can’t be too bad, he’s still worth $4.2 billion and has 100 cruise ships.
Over the summer, Arison joined Twitter. For those who have followed him from the start, it has been a wonderful ride. For weeks it was pictures from various ships across the Mediterranean and Italian wine and cheese plates along the Amalfi Coast as he vacationed and conducted at-sea business in Europe. This is what it is to be one of the world’s richest men and Arison shared willingly while reminding followers regularly about how much fun they can have on a Carnival Fun Ship.
When Arison returned to the states, though, is where NBA fans should have started paying attention. Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban may use Twitter to give out financial options, Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert uses it to combat bloggers, Blazers' owner Paul Allen uses it to refute rumors and celebrate his various franchises and Warriors’ owner Peter Gruber uses it to send out articles and videos.
Arison uses it to keep it real.
After a long day of failed negotiations in New York recently, Arison said he was going out for a great steak.
After a setback that assured many of his Heat employees would have to take 25 percent pay cuts, Arison asked for restaurant recommendations in Seattle.
After Dwyane Wade back talked David Stern during a session, Arison let out a virtual laugh and branded it “a friendly chat.” Seriously, the stuff is gold because it seems to be exactly how Arison and at least some of his fellow owners feel about the NBA lockout dragging into its fourth month. These guys aren’t giving many interviews, after all.
Friday night, though, Arison hit some new heights in apparently blowing off some steam after a long week. Even billionaires do that on Friday nights.
In a series of tweets that he actually later seemed to regret a tad and might even get him fined by Stern, Arison continued to be himself while offering a valuable window into the cloudy world that’s currently obscuring the league.
When one fan asked: "How's it feel to be apart of ruining the best game in the world? NBA owners/players don't give a damn about fans ... and guess what? Fans provide all the money you're fighting over ... you greedy (expletive) pigs."
Arison’s reply might upset some people but, again, at least it seemed to come from a rare honest place: "You are barking at the wrong owner."
That one, which certainly seemed to confirm the union’s long-standing contention that there’s discord within the ownership ranks, Arison deleted a short time later. But not before plenty of people saw it as fellow owners, league executives and players zipped it around cyberspace and added their own, more private, commentary.
When another fan asked Arison what he thought about Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling, he replied with a simple “lol.”
Just refreshing truth. Everyone has always suspected Sterling’s peers laughed at him. Though as Sterling would probably point out if he owned the same type of Twitter honest Arison should be getting credit for, he’s always run his team at a profit and has done plenty of laughing back at them. But that’s another topic.
When one fan suggested that competitive balance among “all 32 teams” was an “unrealistic and stupid idea,” Arison re-tweeted it with a smiley face. Of course the only owner who currently has three All-Stars in his starting lineup plus the city of Miami on his side in future free agency would feel this way, everyone already knew that. But it was nice for Arison to verify it.
He deleted that tweet, too, perhaps at an employee’s suggestion. Though later he clarified the smile was for the 32 teams mistake (there’s 30), not the competitive balance principle. It may have been the first bending of the truth Arison’s been guilty of on Twitter.
So if you want to get some of the best stuff going around on this lockout, by all means make sure to follow @mickyarison on Twitter.
You can say this for Miami Heat owner Micky Arison: in a time where the NBA is heavy on rhetoric and soaking in veiled dislike he’s refreshingly honest.