News Hostage

Having threatened the city with no football, the prime front-page space was devoted the next day to threatening the city with no basketball.

"NBA Chief Says New Arena May Be Pivotal for Rockets," the headline read. If the vote doesn't pass, the Rockets will either a) suck even more than now, because they won't be able to afford good players, or b) move to New Orleans or Baltimore, NBA commissioner David Stern said in yet another Chronicle scoop.

You can't really blame reporter John Williams for these stories, because he has been pretty good at keeping an eye on the Sports Authority in between referenda.

But when it comes to the higher-ups, it seems, you just can't stop generous hearts from giving.

E-mail the News Hostage at rich.connelly@

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