Monday, October 10, 2011

NBA Locked Out But Basketball Lives

For the second time this year Owner’s and Players are running a muck and making a mockery of professional athletics.  It seems as if it is Deja Vu.  While the NFL finally got it together and is in full swing (sidenote: GO TEXANS), it seems that the same financial disagreements that plagued football earlier this year have seeped into the NBA.  The owners have locked the players out and have already cancelled all preseason games.  In fact if a deal is not reached tomorrow David Stern has threatened to cancel some regular season games.  It’s decision time and unfortunately game cancellations seem inevitable. 

You see football players had to work it out quickly with their owners.  The cost of a lock out season was just too great. A year of NFL is 25% of the average player’s career.  That is too much for most players to lose.  NBA careers tend to be longer and the salaries are also much higher.  I feel like the players probably want to work it out and start the season on time, but in reality, they can hold out much longer than NFL players.  I predict that if the NBA plays this year at all it won’t be until late November or early December.  The reasons are numerous but basically it’s because you can’t stop basketball like you can stop football. 

 The younger players will definitely feel the pinch if the season doesn’t start and paychecks aren’t paid, but they have an option. Overseas teams will shell out decent money to these young stars to spend the season abroad.  The money is not the same as NBA money, but it will allow them to pay their bills while negotiations continue. 

Older players who have made much more money during their careers can afford to sit it out at home and relax with an extended offseason.  Street basketball games and pickup games have spawned sensational fan support and created a lot of internet buzz. In all honesty it’s hard to look at the players as money hungry when they are suiting up and playing nationwide for free.  This week while Davis Stern calls off part of the regular season, Miami’s big three, Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade will host a charity game in California through The Drew League.  This game is bringing out big names in the sport.  Nike is supporting the players that endorse its products by printing warm ups with the slogan “Basketball Never Stops” on them. I gotta say, I agree.   

In addition to The Drew League UCLA is the place to be. NBA pick up games are being played consistently in the gym of the Bruins with the only caveat being that at least one UCLA player must be on each team. 

Superstars are popping up at neighborhood parks, private gyms, charity events and college practices all risking their health and careers…just to hoop.  I even read an article recently that tossed around the idea of a renegade basketball league.  Just starting over.  Same teams, same cities, new owners and new league.  Wouldn’t that be slap in the face to the NBA. While highly unlikely it just goes to show you that no matter what the Owner’s think they can do to the players they have to realize that this isn’t the NFL.  The NBA players have a lot more leverage and the Owners need them.   

I hate that the NBA is locket out, but we still have college which is much more competitive anyway and I look forward to watching the pick up games and the charity events.  It’s still good basketball.  No matter what, there will always be good basketball. 
Check some of the pickup games at this link: