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What if Ads Could Dribble?

OPINION features excerpts of pieces by columnists from the Op-Ed page and other sections of The New York Times. All columns from the last seven days are available at nytimes.com; Op-Ed pieces (by columnists and outside contributors), plus Editorials and Letters to the Editor, are at nytimes.com/opinion. Please let us know what you think of OPINION at upfront@scholastic.com.

Top executives in the NBA are suggesting that they would consider allowing advertiser logos to appear on player uniforms—if the price was right. The NBA has kept its jerseys sacrosanct so far, staving off even the logo of Reebok, which provides all NBA uniforms. But some foresee a day when that might change. "Anything that creates new revenue sources is good for both the teams and the players," says Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. But what about a potentially negative reaction from purists? Advertisers could also irritate die-hard fans, a risk they run any time that ads annex yet another part of American culture. Fans feel so intensely about their teams and identify so closely with players, moreover, that they may complain loudly. Then again, that's what draws advertisers to sports in the first place.
—Nat Ives [5/26/05]