Dear NBA…

In Sports on October 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm

by:  Eric Buenning

November 1st was supposed to be a glorious day for me.  Now it’s just an empty, meaningless, mind-numbing day.  It didn’t have to be like this.

For most of you, this day would have been just like any other.  Nobody would have given a damn if the NBA started on time or not.  I did.  I gave lots damns.  I gave at least…..eleven-and-a-half damns.  But now it’s gone (for technically only the first two weeks, but let’s be real–it’ll be much longer than that).  After what some would call the greatest season of all time…there’s just nothing?  That isn’t how this is supposed to work.  Dear NBA: get your shit together.

What’s this lockout about?  Money.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  That’s what the most aggravating part of all of this is.   Nobody seems to care about the product that fills the arenas right now.  Here’s my understanding of the big issue that’s preventing this product.  We have this little thing called revenue sharing.  What that relates to is all of the basketball-related income (BRI)  is split up between the players/agents and the owners/league.  As it stands now, the players receive 57 percent of the BRI.  The owners are complaining that they are losing too much money, reporting that 22 out of 30 franchises lost money.  There was an estimated $300 million lost last season, and they want some help.

In the last vote, both sides for a 53-47 percent share, in their favor of course.  The owners also want a hard salary cap.  This would put a much tighter grip on how much each team can spend.  It would be much more difficult for things like “The Heatles” to happen.  It would also give the not-so-good teams a better chance of competing more than once every other decade.  That’s all fine and good, but it boils down to one thing yet again.  Money.

Dear NBA:  get your shit together.

Okay, I must admit something.  Money sort of matters in these negotiations.  However infuriating I find it, it is important that they sort that out.  Whatever, let’s move on.  What makes me so very mad is the timing of it all, and the lack of consideration for the little people.

Why didn’t both sides start hashing out the puny little details earlier?  Did they not remember that the old CBA was going to expire after the end of last season?  Here is where my anger towards the owners gets elevated.  Why do I get the feeling that comi$$ioner David Stern knew he was going to inevitably lock out the players?  Did he know that he could probably get his side more money by avoiding talks with the player’s union?  In a league that’s been (and I very much hesitate to use this word) dictated by David Stern since his inaugural season, I can’t dismiss the idea of him prolonging labor talks (and killing so much momentum..we’ll get there) in order to get what he wants.  That scares me.

What’s even worse is that this all happened after one of the top-5 greatest seasons ever.  The NBA was replete with veteran talent already with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, so many others….and Michael Redd (kidding).  But last year saw the comeuppance of players like (BIG LIST ALERT!!!) Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, John Wall, Blake Griffin, Lamarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Brandon Jennings, Russell Westbrook, Zach Randolph (v. 3.0), Deron Williams, Chris Paul (only 26, I know!)…I should stop myself…this list could go on.  But you get my point.  The NBA was primed for a HUGE boost in popularity amongst die-hards, moderate, and “just curious” fans alike.  After the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat (the new true villain in the league..something they hadn’t had in a while), everything was aligned for a monumental season.


Splat.  The momentum was crushed like a fly underneath the weight of its swatter.  We all know what happens next, too.  The die-hards will stay, of course.  The moderates will stay for the most part, but lose patience with each passing moment.  The jc’s will definitely go away.  That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for a steady fan-base, which ironically directly contributes to your revenue.  Dear NBA:  you’re killing your brand right now.  Get your shit together.

Finally, this lockout is going to flat out hurt people.  No, not the millionaires and billionaires at the head of this dispute.  I’m talking about the 10th-12th men on the team and the employees of the teams.  Although the NBA has the highest average salary of any sport, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the bench-warmers are rolling in the green.  They struggle to maintain a lifestyle just like the rest of us, believe it or not.  They too have families, mortgages, bills, and the like.  But who cares about them, right?  What we need to hash out is if the stars get to make either $10-15 million a year or $20-25 million……right?  Right?

What they also seem to forget is that people work in the arenas they are so comfortable with abandoning.  What are those people going to do now?  They’re going to have to search for new jobs and fight for every dollar they earn.  Their well-being is at risk, and it’s because two sides can’t agree on how to split up billions of dollars.  Those guys just must have some severe disconnect from reality.

Dear NBA:  I love you, but you’ve got some serious problems right now.  If you want to put an end to your lockout, try looking at something else other than money for a change.







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