Solar and sustainable basketball, “Be Like Mike”

On the eve of the Seattle Storm’s “Go Green” night at Key Arena, I found myself reading about both the NBA’s “new” Oklahoma City Thunder franchise and the installation of solar power systems into the America West Arena in Phoenix which will provide enough electricity to offset the consumption from 26 of the Phoenix Suns games next year.

Rather than take this down the missed opportunity for Seattle and discuss the power that the SuperSonics could have had in spreading a message of sustainability in the Emerald City, I figured I would write a bit more generally about the power of sport to reach the masses with a powerful message.

The Storm have a bit of an unfair advantage in promoting sustainability because their fan base tends to be more open minded to ideas outside of the mainstream. Women are generally more open to green concepts, and the guys that are following this team are not typically your Monday Night Football watching, Budweiser-swilling, half a pig eating sports fans. My impression is that the Storm will gain huge brownie points from their fans when they see the team working to promote sustainability, and many will come away with a new found pride and respect for their team.

On the other hand, how do you reach those Budweiser-swilling masses dumping billions of dollars into professional sports? Follow the same strategy that has made Nike one of the most recognizable brands on the face of the planet.< Implement new technologies and new ideas through the medium of sports. I can only imagine how many diehard Suns fans in the Phoenix area will, most likely for the first time, wonder what it would take to get solar power for their home after learning that the Phoenix Suns have solar power on theirs. All of a sudden one of their buddies gets his solar on his home and is not only turning heads in the neighborhood, but appears to be a bigger Suns' fan. What was the number to that solar place he used? How can I make my system bigger and better? How about the upgrade? All part of the natural progression that worked so well for Nike, cause we all want to “Be Like Mike” right?