Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Elephant In The Room

For all the die-hard fans, for everyone with jerseys hanging in the closet waiting to be worn, for all the people who swore next year is our year, I'm sorry. I know it hurts, but it's time to talk NBA lockout.

How Bad Is It?
It's bad. Bad Bad Leroy Brown bad. So bad, it's worse than a romance in which Lady Gaga wants both your psycho and your vertigo stick. So bad, Michael Jackson's estate just released a remix of his 1987 hit, titled Bad: The NBA Lockout.

It's that bad.

As it stands, David Stern has already cancelled the first two weeks of the season, from November 1st through November 14th. The commissioner has stated that he expects at least six additional weeks to be cancelled - including the traditional Chrsitmas day games - with Tuesday as a hard deadline for taking such action.

In my [hardly professional] opinion, NBA fans need to say a few meaningful words, lower this season into the ground, kick some dirt over it, and pray that the 2012-2013 season doesn't suffer the same fate.

Why Is It So Bad?
Any lockout or strike starts and ends with the age-old motivation: money. Sure, there are other issues, but those things tend to fall into place once leagues figure out how to divide the loot. In recent years, NBA players have received 57% of all basketball related income through salaries and other benefits. For a league that brings in roughly $3.7 billion, that means a split of about $2.1 billion for players and $1.6 billion for the owners.

The owners, citing (among other things) the fact that 22 teams are (by their accounting standards) losing money, entered the lockout looking for a 50-50 division of BRI. Players have given 53% as an absolute minimum. Here's where things get really bad: now that the players have said no to a 50-50 split, owners are pushing for a higher percentage of the cash. That is, owners are trying to give the players less than 50% which means the NBA is moving in the wrong direction.

What Happens Next?
For now, it seems both sides are content to play the blame game. The players want to make the owners look like avaricious slimeballs who are depriving us all of our sacred basketball. The owners, led by Commissioner Stern, are doing everything they can to make it seem like the season will start up as soon as the players stop being unreasonable. Neither side, it appears, is that interested in getting a deal done.

What Should I Do As A Fan?
I hope you like college basketball, because it's going to be a long winter.

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