NBA fans just witnessed one of the most competitive and thrilling seasons that the league has seen in years. The NBA Finals were the most watched since Michael Jordan was playing with the Bulls. Popularity is at an all time high. These facts would lead one to belief that all is right in the National Basketball Association. WRONG! The NBA is currently in a lockout and with weeks to go before training camp, it doesn’t look like the season will start on time. This is the 4th lockout for the league, the first since 1999. During the lockout, teams cannot trade, sign or contact players and players cannot access NBA team facilities, trainers or staffs. The lockout will not end until the Player’s Association (NBAPA) and the owners come to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.
In layman’s terms: billionaires (owners) are fighting with millionaires (players) about how much money they will receive. While the league is internationally popular, the NBA claims that most teams have been losing money over the years and want to decrease player salaries by 40%. In a time of economic turmoil, most fans can’t understand what is taking so long for these rich, successful men to come to terms and start playing. Fans spend their hard earned money, which is considerably less than the players earn, to watch athletes play. WE WANT OUR NBA! The NFL just had a similar 5 month lockout of their own and it took the owners and players working together to finally end it and start the season on time. NBA owners and players need to to the same thing. However, NBA players have options that NFL players don’t.
Football is only popular in America. The NFL is the only place that players can make a living. Basketball is popular globally. Players are opting to play in countries such as China, Italy and Turkey in order to make money rather than bother helping with negotiations for the NBAPA. They have more leverage than NFL players did during their lockout.
The way I see it, the NBA is the top notch in terms of competition, popularity and the chance to make a sizable salary, even after a salary decrease. NBA players should be doing all they can to help end the lockout and owners should make compromises as well. They aren’t the ones who need the money. Like Jay-Z, rapper and part owner of the New Jersey Nets, said: “the Nets could go 0-82 and I’d look at y’all like this s#!% gravy.”
The last time the NBA was locked out the season was delayed for more than 2 months and played a 50 game schedule as opposed to the normal 82. It looks like we may see something similar this year. Perhaps worse.