Why The Lockout Could Ruin the NBA


NBA Commissioner David Stern wants progress made soon.

With the summer set to come to a close, one recurring theme throughout these past few months has been that of labor unrest. A number of union battles have come about in recent months, none more talked about then the two centered on two of the countries professional sports leagues, the NFL and the NBA. The NFL Lockout has come and gone with both sides conceding some things just in time to salvage an abbreviated offseason and preseason without losing any regular season games. The NFL seemed to have left some people’s minds for a little while, but once the lockout was lifted, it quickly returned to the minds of its fans.

The NBA however, may not be so lucky. The lockout for them is slightly different. The NFL was coming off of one of its most profitable seasons ever and the fan base at this point seems very energized. The fact that teams in the NFL do not easily reach dynasty status seems to attract more fans to more teams because you always feel like your team could be on the cusp of winning. The NBA’s season was quite different. The majority of franchises lost money last season. NBA players do not seem to carry the same sympathy card with the fans either. They are on average already the highest paid athletes in professional sports so it is hard to figure out what they want. Last season did not center on fans striving and pulling for their franchise. It mainly focused on the fan base’s hatred for one particular franchise. There is no sense in the NBA that a team in the basement of the league can quickly turn it around in a season or two and compete. This seems to be off-putting to fans and is part of the reason why many people who I encounter prefer college basketball. This lockout could ruin the NBA.

Reports are in that this lockout could cost the league all of next season and perhaps parts of the next. The players do not seem to have the same mindset of their NFL counterparts. Football players banded together and held small self-imposed practices and workouts to prepare during the lockout while NBA players are heading overseas. I do not want to paint the picture that every NFL player showed up to such practices nor do I insist that all of the NBA players are going to go overseas. However, the fact that some already have, and that some seem to be on their way shows that they may not have too much faith in the negotiating prowess of their union or their league. It is true that NFL players do not necessarily have the luxury of going to play in leagues abroad unless you want to count signing with a CFL or Arena League team, but the fact that you saw so many small player organized practices showed that they had football on their minds and wanted to be in a position to put the best product on the field for the fans. NBA players going overseas may be sending a message to the owners, but it is also sending a message to the fans that they do not necessarily have a connection to the NBA or to their particular team, but to simply getting paid.

The NBA does not need another blemish and right now that is what this lockout is. They ended last season on a high note. The team that everyone loved to hate made it far enough to keep ratings up, but lost which kept fans hopes up that even with 3 superstars on one team, my team may still have a chance. That high note quickly plunged in light of this lockout and an abbreviate season most likely will not be the remedy needed to get fans back on board with what the NBA is selling. The league is going to have to be much different in the future to entice fans to come back. A better brand of basketball and more competition are going to be essential to putting fans in the seats when the league resumes business because the bottom line is this: The NBA fan base is nowhere near as strong or as loyal as the NFL’s and there is no guarantee that the league will even be able to retain what they had last season when they were losing major dollars.

Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher are tasked with leading the players to a new CBA.

The two sides are supposed to meet this week for just the second time since the lockout went into effect in early July. Commissioner David Stern is adamant that he wants progress to be made as a result of these meetings. Billy Hunter, the Players Union executive director and Derek Fisher, L.A. Laker Guard and Union President are expected to meet with Stern but the two sides are quite far apart and there does not seem to be any strong indications that these meetings will significantly bridge the gap. Owners want salary cuts and a new more restrictive salary cap system. Players basically want their salaries to remain untouched. Buckle up everyone, because from the looks of this, it is going to be a long, bumpy road before we get back to having NBA basketball. The question is, is anyone going to miss it that much. The NBA better hope so.

One Response to Why The Lockout Could Ruin the NBA

  1. yetta boyd says:

    I think unions are villianized because people think they want to much. I look at how much companies and owners make off there employees. Even though athlete are making millions, the owners are
    making billions. UNIONS MUST CONTINUE TO FIGHT!!!!

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