I’m going to deviate from my normal range of topics for just a minute and talk about something I don’t normally discuss here on futureprobe: sports and the world of the workplace. Hopefully, you’ll find it amusing. If not, it’s a big Internet.
What do you want most? The answer to that question is different for just about everybody: maybe you want world peace, or a Lamborghini, or a Jacuzzi full of supermodels. But the one thing most people want is money, and a lot of folks would love to have a job that pays them a lot of money without having to do anything remotely productive. Which is where Sam Hinkie comes in.
Sam Hinkie, for those of you not conversant with the sportsball, is the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team. NBA general managers make around $1 to $3 million a year, which is more money than 99.999% of Earth’s population will ever see in their lifetime. In return, they are supposed to assemble a competitive basketball team with a reasonable chance to win the league championship. Frequently, they fail. But they’re usually at least trying. Still, since only one team can win the championship every year, and only five to seven other teams are considered to be contenders, the majority of NBA GMs get ripped apart on sports talk radio and the Internet no matter how hard they try to assemble a good basketball team.
So Sam Hinkie came up with a brilliant plan. He would not even try to assemble a good basketball team. Instead, he would deliberately fail at his job, continue to collect $1 to $3 million per year, and if anyone asked he would just say he was engaging in “tanking”.
You see, sometimes even good teams will reach the point where their best players have retired or left to play somewhere else, and their GM will deliberately fill the team with bad players on short-term contracts so they’ll lose a bunch of games and thereby have the best chance to grab the best player in the upcoming college draft. This is called “tanking”. The thing is, a bad team assembled by a good GM engaging in tanking looks exactly like a bad team assembled by an incompetent GM who stinks at his job. And since 2013, Sam Hinkie has been able to collect $1 to $3 million per year to suck at his job, all while assuring everybody that he’s not in incompetent boob, but a wizard-like basketball genius executing a brilliant long-range plan.
Of course, you can only tell that lie for so long before people start to catch on. This season’s incarnation of the Philadelphia 76ers has been so dismally bad that it’s reaching back through time and erasing games the teams won in the past, and so, in an implicit admission that Sam Hinkie is less competent than a double amputee in a butt-kicking contest, the team hired a respected executive named Jerry Coangelo to basically take over Sam Hinkie’s responsibilities.
So that’s the end of the road for ol’ Sam, right? Nope! Because Sam Hinkie has not been fired. He’s still the General Manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, the team just hired Jerry Coangelo to do all the General Manager things. If you’ve followed along this far, you know what that means:
Sam Hinkie is getting paid millions of dollars a year not do any work!
Now, Sam is not a stupid man. In fact, in his previous job with the Houston Rockets he showed himself to be pretty good at assembling a talented basketball team, which you may recall is the main responsibility of a General Manager. So what is more likely? That he stopped on the way from Houston to Philadelphia and had several key brain lobes amputated, turning him into a drooling idiot? Or that he read the situation in Philadelphia, realized the owners wouldn’t fire him no matter what he did, and proceeded to deliberately stink at his job so they’d bring in somebody else to do it for him while still allowing him to keep his General Manager title and the $1-$3 million a year that comes with it?
In short, Sam Hinkie figured out how to make millions of dollars without doing anything remotely useful or productive. And that’s why he’s my role model.