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National Bunco Association

It was reported last week that the cost for a family of four to
go to an average NBA game has risen 11% from last season, to
$266.61. Wait, wait, wait! Can that be true--$266 to see an
average NBA game? Like, say, the New Jersey Nets versus the L.A.
Clippers? Two hundred sixty-six zops? For a family of four?
Which family, the Rockefellers?

Do you have any idea what you could do with $266? You could buy
8,866 quarter-inch hex nuts (three cents apiece). You could ride
a penny pony 26,600 times. You and your kid could go to a
matinee of Pokemon ($4 a ticket) 30 times and still have enough
left over for six bottles of Excedrin ($4 each).

For $266 you could rent a car from Alamo for two days ($30 a
day), have it painted at Earl Scheib's ($199), return it and see
if anybody notices. You could spend eight minutes in a room
alone with naked former Playboy Bunny Teri Weigel ($2,000 an
hour) at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch near Carson City, Nev. Or buy
26 bunnies from Critters Corner in Louisville, Colo.

Are they buggin'? Two hundred sixty-six dollars? An 11% hike in
ticket prices for a league in which scoring dropped eight points
a game last season? Since when did the price of sucking go up?

For $266 you could sponsor a kid through Save the Children (79
cents per day) for nearly a year. You could buy 169 homeless
people Thanksgiving dinner at the downtown soup kitchen ($1.57
each). You could slip a quarter to a panhandler every day for
almost three years.

You could buy a 10-by-12 storage shed ($250) and fill it with
120 cubic feet of feathers. Swallow 967 hot dogs (package of 80
for $10.99) slathered with 2,580 ounces of French's mustard
($2.68 per 52-ounce bottle). If the idea of spending $266 on an
NBA game makes you want to york, think about this: You could buy
450 York Peppermint Pattys (59 cents apiece) for that.

Instead of watching some of the ball hogs in the NBA, you could
enroll in the Swine Production and Management class at Des
Moines Community College ($190.20) and buy eight doses of swine
semen ($64) from Premier Swine in Michigantown, Ind. You talk
about family fun!

This is just an average cost. To see the New York Knicks play at
Madison Square Garden, it's $455.26! Four hundred fifty-five
dollars? You could fly round-trip from Minneapolis to Mazatlan
and get four nights' lodging ($396.90, MLT Vacations), bring
your sunburn home and lie in a bathtub full of Miracle Whip
($5.99 a gallon) for that!

A puny lobster-salad sandwich at Boston's FleetCenter costs $10!
Ten dollars? For $10 I want my lobster to do a reverse 2 1/2
into a pot of boiling water while whistling the theme from The
Little Mermaid.

The NBA needs to take a long look at what's going on here. I
know a guy who became an NBA fan as a kid by watching Bill
Russell on Sundays at Boston Garden from a $2 balcony seat. You
don't see kids at NBA games now. All you see now are guys in
Zegna suits and women in Donna Karan, drinking highballs,
talking to one another on their cells and leaving early on a
river of corporate ooze.

Two hundred sixty-six dollars? For $266 you could watch every
NBA game for an entire season ($169 on DirecTV's NBA League Pass
subscription) and buy a divorce packet from your county clerk
($20), which you'll most definitely need because your wife will
have left with the tennis pro by December.

Do you know what $266 could become? On Opening Day of the NBA
season a year ago, if you'd bought eight shares of Qualcomm ($32
per share), they'd be worth $6,048 today. For $266 you could
cover 2,700 feet of your ex-husband's house an inch deep in
sheep manure ($1.47 a bag). For $266 you could call Dick Vitale
for 5,320 minutes (five cents per minute). Or hire a
personal-services assistant ($65 an hour) to throw fresh rose
petals ($25 a bag) in your path for two hours.

I mean, for $266 you could undergo three weeks of psychiatric
counseling from Martin Mueller ($85 an hour) of Los Angeles. If
you're thinking of spending $266 to see an NBA game, you really
should see Dr. Mueller.

You're certifiable.


An 11% hike in ticket prices for a league in which scoring
dropped eight points a game? Since when did the price of sucking
go up?