I’m glad everybody’s having a good time. You’re coming around, I’m coming around, we’re all coming around to laud Succession’s place in the hierarchy of prestige TV. It’s great, right? Buffoonish children unintentionally destroying their father’s empire by simply trying to act like serious people is high comedy. Having a good laugh? And then laughing again after you do that slight inhale after laughing uncontrollably?
Well, I’m not, Bob. I just saw two fat billionaires having sex in the woods off of 15. How am I supposed to putt with that going on? The show’s lead writer Jesse Armstrong has crafted a masterful piece of art to illustrate the dangers of unfathomable wealth. He’s not deifying capitalists; he’s taking a blowtorch to them.
The risk of purveying a message like that through comedy is society loves humor. A lot of us are so busy chuckling at the cast’s creative insults that the moral of the show is soaring over our heads. That’s my focus for today, and since this is a sports website, let’s tie it to the industry.
Spoiler alert: If you’re not up to date on Succession, please proceed with caution.
Kendall, Roman, and Shiv could be running the Lakers just as poorly as Waystar Royco
In fact, the Buss children are doing just that. Save for LeBron James throwing the organization a life vest, the Lakers have made a slew of objectively poor decisions since Dr. Jerry Buss died. Whether it’s Jeannie, Jim, or one of the other four other children, the preeminent sports team in Los Angeles has emitted a James Dolan-ian stench at times in recent years.
From Russell Westbrook to D’Angelo Russell, Rob Pelinka — or whoever’s pulling his strings — has failed to recognize the type of players who accentuate LeBron and Anthony Davis’ games. Sure, this Lakers’ team could make a run with Austin Reaves, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Russell rounding out the starting lineup.
Be that as it may, the likelihood of that happening depends on the health of James and AD, and not the “fantastic” job Pelinka has done boosting the team out of the hole that he dug. The difference between multibillion-dollar companies, and sports franchises is that one’s wins and losses are televised live.
Obviously, there are metrics to indicate success and failure in every industry. While Roman looking at the company’s plummeting stock price following Logan’s death and identifying it as “dad” is gut-wrenchingly sad, it’s also proof of how much faith investors had in Logan’s business acumen.
If you’re into the minutiae of the high-stakes corporate world, you could likely rattle off any number of nepo babies who’ve disbanded the family legacy via booze-fueled decisions and general stupidity.
Well, it’s no different in sports. Ask fans of the Knicks, Broncos, Lakers, Raiders, Yankees, etc. how much they enjoy moronic offspring running their teams. I personally find Jeannie keeping the Rambis family solvent hysterical, but that’s because I’m a Trail Blazers fan.
Unfortunately, I shouldn’t laugh too hard considering Paul Allen’s sister, Jody, is currently overseeing a Portland franchise permanently stuck in purgatory, and I have a sneaky inkling of which way Rip City is heading. It doesn’t matter if it’s a son, a daughter, an uncle, an aunt, or a sibling, what made the original a titan in their field isn’t included in the paperwork.
Stop worshiping people for merely existing
I wish we viewed the Roy family and other obnoxiously rich people the same way we view the Dolans or the Davises. Americans’ perception of success is directly related to the size of a person’s bank account, but what gets overlooked is how they got there, or how they act once they’ve arrived. If you’re a billionaire, I’m immediately skeptical of you, how much you’re paying in taxes, how much you pay your employees, how much you tip your waiters — all of it.
The only thing to take away from Succession is that the people with power will do anything to retain it, including ruining familial relationships. And that’s applicable to the sports world where infighting over who’s in charge has led to rifts and lawsuits.
It took a ton of litigation to wrest control of the Broncos away from the Bowlens after patriarch Pat Bowlen died a few years back. The Walton family now owns the team and is kicking off their own era of nepotism.
It feels like the Blazers and Seahawks also are facing prolonged sales. We’re decades — or at least a few court battles — away from Jody heeding the wishes of her brother, who wanted to dedicate the majority of his wealth to philanthropy, because “estates of this size and complexity take 10 to 20 years to wind down.”
Deep pockets are becoming as hereditary as eye color, and it’s unbelievable how many of us appear more than willing to return to the days of hierarchies.
You shouldn’t be OK with people — who low-key control a fuck ton of your everyday life — passing their power onto their children. We loathe when nepotism shatters our favorite team, yet are endlessly intrigued by, and trusting of, great American families. Generational wealth is something to aspire to, not live by, and that couldn’t be more evident in the way money changes individuals. Neither the Kennedys nor Kardashians deserve unadulterated adulation for simply being born.
So the next time you have a discussion over who will “win” Succession, know that it’s not about who wins. The entire family is emotionally bankrupt, and the only reason they’re not complete pariahs is that there are a lot of have-nots willing to put up with even the shittiest, most reprehensible humans if it means their own slice of astronomical wealth.