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If the New York Liberty is one of two WBNA "Super Squads," that helps give a halo to the owners, right?

So the sports website The Athletic, owned by the New York Times, recently debuted a series called Super Squads, following the top WNBA teams Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty. The pitch:
The Athletic’s Super Squads series will document these teams’ quests for a championship as we dive into WNBA trends and issues; share snapshots of the lives of star players like Breanna Stewart, A’ja Wilson and Candace Parker; and talk to team owners and front-office executives to explain how the WNBA has entered a new era of player empowerment.

The creation of the Liberty’s impressive roster through free-agency moves — Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot moving to New York — and adding Jonquel Jones in a blockbuster trade, as well as the Aces adding another All-Star in Parker to their defending championship roster, sparked conversations about the way teams can be assembled; salary caps for WNBA teams and pay disparity for women’s basketball players; travel accommodations; overseas play and much more. With a reporter dedicated to covering each franchise, we’ll explore these topics that will dictate the future of the WNBA through the lens of the players and teams.
A explanatory/exculpatory note:
The Super Squads series is part of a partnership with Google Lens. The Athletic maintains full editorial independence. Partners have no control over or input into the reporting or editing process and do not review stories before publication.
Okay, they don't have input. But the fact is, a narrow lens on sports can ignore, for example, how the building of the Liberty superteam is also part of reputation management for billionaire owners Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai.

As it happens, The Athletic did in 2019 produce a package of stories about The NBA-China conflict, in which new Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai notoriously defended the Chinese regime, but they haven't mentioned it in relationship to Tsai in the past year, except as an aside.

In the Times

The New York Times did somewhat better, but it's a low bar. Sports columnist Kurt Streeter, who's as socially concious as they come (excepting Dave Zirin of The Nation), on 5/17/23 wrote The Liberty Took a Few Jets and a Boat to Become a Superteam.

It's a mostly admiring account about how Clara Wu Tsai flew to Turkey to recruit free agent superstar Breanna Stewart, then rented an 80-foot tour boat to close the deal. 

And the team owners have opened up their pocketbooks to try to provide the players with the kind of support--performance staff, chef, etc. that the Brooklyn Nets get. The Tsais even weathered a fine for breaking league rules to fly the players--they're tall!--on private jets, not commercial. All this helps recruiting.

Too much slack

Streeter did acknowledge the bigger picture:
The Tsais, it must be noted, have a complex history. Few team owners in any sport have given as much support to social justice, including $50 million to boost economically distressed communities following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. But Alibaba has been criticized for business ties with Chinese companies said to violate human rights in China. And Tsai once called pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong a “separatist movement,” echoing language from Beijing.
But he gave them too much slack.

Actually, they haven't given $50 million. They've pledged $50 million, over 10 years. It's hardly clear that, for example, putting investments of up to $500,000--seed funding--into startup companies run by BIPOC founders particularly help "economically distressed communities."

Moreover, the column contained a common error, citing "Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, which the Tsais own."

They don't. They own the arena operating company. That's important, as wrote in April 2018 for City & State, because public ownership enables tax breaks that save the team owner tens--actually hundreds--of millions of dollars.

That helps with building a superteam.