Hawaii Hurricanes co-owner pushes skepticism aside
WHAT was your reaction when you heard that ABA pro basketball was coming back to Hawaii?
Yes, me too.
So, Andrew Moss, local businessman, Radford grad, president and co-owner of the Hawaii Hurricanes, have you found that you've had to face a lot of initial skepticism?
"Yes," Moss said. "The failures from before, we have to -- I realize we have to address those first."
That's part of the reason, Moss said, he went through exhaustive research to find out why previous efforts had failed.
It's true. They have. Minor league sports -- other than the old beloved Hawaii Islanders Triple-A baseball team -- have had some notoriously short-lived histories here.
Have people asked Moss if he's crazy for trying to do this?
"Yes," he said.
Well, is he?
Going back over my notes, I don't see that he did actually confirm or deny. But Moss is confident. According to his research and gut, it's not that minor league sports franchises can't work here. It's that they haven't been done right here.
(Incidentally, this is also what every previous team president said.)
He said the problem with Hawaii's last ABA franchise, the Mega Force (other than the name, I'm assuming) was that it was not local enough.
It also might have been that the team canceled its opening series, then played just two games before it started missing paychecks and road trips and was thrown out of the league for a series of events that forward Chris Moore summed up as "the worst situation I have experienced in professional basketball."
I don't know the extent of Moore's professional basketball experience, but you get the idea.
Moss promises better management, local management. And the ABA itself is better managed now, he said, with rogue, fly-by-night owners no longer allowed.
Moss said the Hurricanes have secured the funding for the first year of operation. They'll have partnership deals for lodging and travel to help offset costs.
But didn't the af2 arena football Islanders have similar deals? And a millionaire owner? And lots of local players and Cal Lee as coach?
Yes. But the Hurricanes will become one with the community by doing charity work and kids camps. You know. Local.
Well, as the saying goes, you gotta believe, and Moss does. He seems like a nice guy. He has business experience and a business plan. Coach Alika Smith brings goodwill and local appeal. We'll see if a coach can fill seats.
I asked Moss if he has a Vegas number, an "I've got this much to gamble with and then I'm out" amount of cash in mind. He said he's obviously run the numbers, but isn't looking at it like that. He said he sees this working.
So did they all.
Good or bad, it will be interesting. Colorful. The minor leagues always are.
Maybe when all this is over Moss can write a book.
"I can probably write half of one already," he said. And they've only officially been in business about a month.