The lockout watch
Earlier this summer, much of sports nation focused on one thing: the NFL lockout. Now that the NFL is back in business, it seems as if the “other” lockout has gone overlooked by many. I’m talking about the NBA lockout — you know, the one that has the first two weeks of the regular season already canceled. Given that the NBA is considering canceling the whole season, why hasn’t this lockout gotten any publicity whatsoever in the media?
I understand that the NBA does not have as great a following as the NFL, but since it is one of America’s four major sports organizations, I feel that some people actually care. However, I think the problem with the NBA lockout is that it doesn’t seem like the players care. All this talk about playing overseas has made the fans think that the players would almost rather play in places like China, Turkey, and Italy. In fact, a ton of players have already signed to play overseas, such as Pau Gasol and Manu Ginobili — even Kobe Bryant has considered taking his talents overseas.
Not only are there games overseas, but there are also private league games that stars such as Kevin Durant have played on street corners and in gyms across the country. These leagues, some of which are run by celebrities, most notably the famous rapper “The Game,” have brought the superstars even closer to the fans and have been sources of amazing entertainment. Durant scored over 60 points in one of these scrimmages, and the Bulls youngster, John Lucas III, put up over 50 points in a game.
This is “street” basketball at its best, with the best talents returning to the place where they learned basketball to put on a show. As if this weren’t enough, a game featuring Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and other superstars, organized by Anthony, was just played, and it was a great success.
Another huge reason the NBA lockout doesn’t seem like a big deal is because it is nowhere close to being resolved. It is such a big deal that both sides won’t compromise, and it almost seems impossible that they will get this season underway.
Apparently, the owners have been offering a deal that is nowhere close to the compensation that the players normally get, which is around 57 percent of basketball-related revenues. For much of last year, the owners complained that a majority of teams actually lost money during the NBA season, which I believe is false.
It’s clear that the owners are simply milking information in order to maximize their own profits, with no care for what the fans think about the league.
Adding to the problem is the fact that David Stern, the NBA commissioner, does not know how to handle the situation. Throughout the past three to four months, Stern has done nothing but add fuel to the fire by attacking the players and openly stating that the two sides are far from compromise. As if this were not enough, Stern has been setting deadlines for the two sides, but by the time the deadlines came, he had done very little to make enoughprogress to avoid the cancellation of games.
It is almost as if this thing is a huge joke, and Stern has no control over what is going on. We know it’s a sad day when the supposed leader of the league has no power.
All in all, we’re looking at a year in which we have no basketball, and while many of you probably do not care, it’s still a huge loss of entertainment to a good portion of society. I’m not sure what I’ll do in early May when I can’t root against Lebron James and the hated Miami Heat. On the bright side, I won’t have to choose between watching the NFL, NHL, and NBA, since those games won’t overlap.