Well, the inevitable has finally happened.
Despite the best efforts of the league’s owners, the Players’ Association, and the indomitable David Stern, yet another National Basketball Association lockout is upon is.
And why should we be surprised?
After all, the parties were really up against it, what with over two years of threatening, posturing and drawing lines in the sand and all.
But I digress.
Surely the powers that be have better things to do on their 4th of July holiday weekend than lament what could have been. That’s for us fans and patrons to do.
To fully understand what’s wrong with the sport, you need a Doctorate in Economics, but my best subject, Home Economics, is pretty much inapplicable here. So if you want really smart takes from really smart people, I probably can’t help you.
As far as I can tell though, the scenario goes something like this:
- Owner A inherits and/or falls ass-backwards into large sum of money and/or massively profitable corporation
- Player B acquires freakish and rare physical gifts via genetics and/or bite from bluish-red spider
- Owner A purchases NBA franchise in order to fulfill boyhood dream and/or to impress the ladies – see, e.g. Sterling, Donald
- Owner A raises ticket prices
- Owner A hires marginally qualified executive and/or former player with little to no track record of management success (“GM X”) – see, e.g. Thomas, Isiah
- Player B forgoes choice of multiple college scholarships, instead opting to enter the NBA draft [EDIT – All players after Player B are barred from entering the NBA until the age of 19, to the absolute joy of collegiate Athletic Directors everywhere]
- Owner A becomes ravenous to deliver winning season to fans and/or realizes winning seasons mean increased profits
- Player B displays maddeningly inconsistent on-court talent and never conceives of life beyond or without basketball (see point 5, above)
- Owner A raises ticket prices again, despite continued mediocre franchise performance
- Player B enters free agency for the first time, seeking a “max” guaranteed contract with little or no regard for the ramifications to his fellow league members or the fans (Also known as “Got To Gets Mines Syndrome”)
- GM X, on behalf of Owner A, gladly doles out an aforementioned “max” contract to Player B, even though neither Owner A (who will eventually bemoan said acquisition cost), nor GM X (who isn’t likely to be employed by Owner A for very long) carefully consider if Player B is “worth” the investment
- Owner A raises ticket prices, ostensibly to pass the cost of Player B to the fans
- Player B, now rich beyond his wildest dreams, plumps up nicely to the detriment of his game.
- Owner A fires GM X
- Owner A decides to head home and take his ball with him, leaving Player B to either cave in to Owner A’s demands or risk the ire of the fans in calling Owner A’s bluff, possibly eradicating part of or all of the next season
So that’s pretty much how we got to where we are now, and sadly, there’s no telling when it will be resolved.
So what are we left to do?
Well, the NFL finds itself in only marginally better shape – mostly based on rumors and speculation that the bickering sides in that dispute are close to a resolution. Either way, we’ve already been deprived of the usual free agency period, and it seems unlikely that training camps will begin on time.
There’s always good ol’ reliable hardball, but we all know where that’s headed. The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies are on a three-way collision course, and not even Timmy Lincecum can derail that train.
Golf? Well, it’s still got the intrigue of Tiger Woods annihilating the competition every weekend. Oh, wait.
NASCAR? Uhh, no.
Which leaves us with…WBNA hoops! That’s right, it’s layups and bounce passes for everyone. Feel the excitement!
No, no, it’s the NBA or bust for me.
So listen up David Stern and Billy Hunter (left), and listen good. Get your butts back into that negotiating room, PRONTO, and find a workable solution that’s fair to both parties. After all, the league is/was generating record attendance and ratings, and drawing back fans who had abandoned the sport long ago.
But these are tough economic times for the average American, and if you think the fans are going to throw a pity party for you because of your inability to divvy up billions of their entertainment dollar, you’re sorely mistaken.