The Staples Center in Los Angeles was purchased by the Anschutz Entertainment Group last week. An early Christmas gift was announcedFor L.A. Sports Fans: The stadium will now be called the Crypto.com Center as of Dec. 25, 2012.
If that sounds more like a “Someone’s been very naughty this year” special, you are not the only one feeling that way.“Nah,” said L.A. Clippers star Reggie Jackson. Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa A photo was posted of the Staples Center with the caption, “Forever known as the house that Kobe built.” Meanwhile, New Orleans Pelicans fans thought, “At least you’re not the Smoothie King Center.”
While some name changes can be quite acceptable, we now seem to live in an era when it is not uncommon to see arenas with a long history being renamed by whatever.com. Crypto.com is a Singapore-based cryptocurrency platform that allows people to sell and buy Bitcoins and other digital currencies. It is the second such exchange to buy the naming rights to a U.S. sporting venue (FTX bought the rights to the Miami Heat’s arena earlier this year), in what appears to be a bid to make something that involves the word “crypto” seem mainstream and not at all sketchy. The company has no previous ties to Los Angeles, but it did theoretically have $700 million to spend over the next 20 years—as some of my favorite America editorials of yore would end, “Time will tell”—so here we are
Although some name changes can be quite bad, it seems that we are in an age where long-standing arenas may have their naming rights purchased by the most recent whatever.com.
If we had a better world, we could report this name change on to a federal bureau for aesthetics. Dear Middle-Aged Business People of the World – Adding internet domain suffixes in your IRL names does not make you hip. And we are resentful for making the world worse. For those who think Shakespeare was right—a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet—try rose.biz or rose.blog on for size.
What is more embarrassing than changing the name for a place that has a lot of meaning to people just to make some extra money? I get it, A.E.G. A.E.G. is a non-profit venture, though Staples Arena does. LangHave beenOne of the most lucrative areas in the country). Its business depends on the success of sports teams. They only succeed if they have strong, intimate relationships with their fans. The name of the place where the Lakers won their last six NBA championships, the L.A. Sparks three WNBA championships and the L.A. Kings two Stanley Cups, the place where Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and Lisa Leslie played, is part of people’s memory of those experiences. To see the name change, as L.A. Clippers player Paul George put it, is “like just stripping the history here.”
The Catholic Church is well-versed in these types of situations. Many rooms and buildings are named or renamed for donors willing to donate a substantial amount to support our school.
Dear Middle-Aged Business People of the World, Adding an internet domain suffix to your IRL name is not hip. We resent that you make the world look worse.
The church is generally slow to change. It is often criticized for its insistence on continuity, despite all the evidence that suggests times have changed. But that persistence also reflects our understanding of the importance of the history, not only as anecdote and factoid, but as the foundation upon which we can build our own experiences.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York has changed in many ways since it first opened its doors in 1878, and the city around it, too. Yet, you can still walk past its doors and feel the spirit of the city. This is due to the millions of prayers said there, as well as the many weddings, funerals and confessions that were held over the course of the last 143-years. Whether we realize it or not, our present experience is steeped in our ancestors’ practice.
Names are a part and parcel of everything. St. Patrick’s Cathedral will no doubt continue to change in the coming decades, but one thing it will never do is rename itself #JesusWins Cathedral—not only because that name is terrible but because to alter the name of this place would be to remove something essential from it.
Contrary to secular places, the Catholics are concerned with the person who gave the name. Name a cathedral or chapel after St. Patrick or a high-school after Mary to invoke these figures as patrons of the space. It’s to ask these holy women and men for their help and dedicate the space to their mission. Spiritually, we believe that St. Patrick and St. Joan will look out for the Catholic institutions they are connected to and that our identity as the community of St. Patrick and St. Joan or Mary will be shaped by their lives.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral will no doubt continue to change in the coming decades, but one thing it will never do is rename itself #JesusWins Cathedral.
It is not true that Charles Comiskey, an old-timey White Sox fan, gave them the blessing. Nor would we say that the Staples Center’s mission to provide office supplies at a cheap price somehow becomes ours. There is a way that public spaces such as arenas, parks, and skyscrapers can take on a new life in a community. The names of these spaces no longer refer to their donors but to the blessings they have given people.
We would never claim that we pray to Andrew Carnegie, Walt DisneyOr Dorothy ChandlerHowever, those who frequent the places named after them can experience a saint-like feeling of shelter or gift. To take it away is to undercut something vital and spiritual.
You may regret making that bet. Do we really think there’s going to be a “Crypto.com” in 20 years? To be clear, that is longer than Facebook has been around or smartphones or Netflix’s streaming services. And again, it’s called “Crypto,” which is basically like someone in the ’80s wanting to rename Wrigley Field “Sony Walkman Field.”
Some are saying the Staples Center will henceforth be known as “the Crypt.” It is a bit of a creepy name for a place that intends to be welcoming to families with children, though I guess silver linings come in strange forms sometimes. But when it comes right down to it, maybe that’s what all of these renamed stadiums are, sites below which great histories and figures are buried.
Correction: A previous version of this article identified Kobe Bryant’s widow as Shannon. She is Vanessa.