Can you hear it? It is the tormented screams of millions NBA fans across the country after realizing that the upcoming season is likely to be canceled. After months of negotiations between overpaid players and stingy owners, the only result is empty stadiums across the country and a barrage of anti-trust lawsuits getting ready to be thrown around.
So why does this battle between the haves and the have-mores even matter? Aside from the sadness that will surely arise because of the lack of NBA action on ESPN, the real reason why anyone should care is the damage this lockout will surely do the economy.
The NBA employs thousands of people, not just the players, but the ones who work those small jobs that keep things running. People ranging from custodians to ticket takers, concession stand attendants to the people standing outside in the cold selling T-shirts and other team paraphernalia, will now be out of work because neither side can come to agreement. However, much of the blame falls on the owners. It is hard to respect them after team owners continue to squabble over a few thousand dollars – mere pennies to them – allowing things to escalate to this kind of a mess.
Although a part of me wholeheartedly stands by the players and wants to congratulate them on their perseverance in this ordeal, another part of me knows that they’re not suffering that much. Additionally, these players have handled the situation poorly. Players like Lakers guard Kobe Bryant aren't hurting for money, considering that players like Bryant have endorsement deals to fall back on despite the missed paychecks from this season’s canceled games. Bryant and other players like Kevin Durant have also been offered lucrative deals to play overseas.
Nonetheless, everyone has something to lose at this point, yet neither NBA Commissioner David Stern nor Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBA players trade association, are willing to back down. Stern offered a 50-50 split of basketball-related income, and they proposed a 72-game season beginning Dec. 15, threatening that any subsequent deal would be worse if this one was rejected. However, players wanted to be compensated for the hard work they put in every night, which brings in millions for this huge franchise. So of course, the deal was rejected and the NBA union officially disbanded.
Although I’m an ardent fan of college ball over the pro game, I still find myself concerned, as any other NBA fanatic would be, of what might happen next. Now that negotiations have stalled, a season can’t start until 30 days after an agreement has been reached. Therefore, only time will tell what will happen next as the season quickly passes by.
Still, it is the fans that are definitely getting burned in the process, and it’s not something that will easily be forgotten. All they can do is hope now that a miracle happens and things get resolved.
Photo Credit: _Tony_B