The NBA Lockout: You Don’t Know What’s Gone Till It’s Gone
There are plenty of things to dislike about the National Basketball Association. An endless amount of bad contracts (see Eddy Curry, Gilbert Arenas), terrible franchises that never seem to figure it out (see Clippers, Timberwolves), and egos that often out size talent and performance (see Stephon Marbury). The NBA has a stigma of being a league where a bunch of overpaid egomaniacs hog the ball and don’t play defense. This is (in most cases) false. No other professional sports league in the world has the mix of individual and team, of fundamentals and personal style that the NBA does. That being said, the NBA needs to be saved. Unlike the NFL lockout, which was solved before any football was missed (thank god), the NBA lockout is messy, and will most likely carry into the regular season.
Most casual NBA fans will look at the possibility of missing a few of the 82 regular season games as a non-issue. However, tell this to a Lakers fan eager to see if Mike Brown can pick up where Phil Jackson left off, if Kobe Bryant can continue his dominance despite being another year older, and if Dwight Howard or Chris Paul will be wear purple and gold as many suspect. This is just one of the 30 franchises each with interesting storylines and a fan base hungry for more basketball. With the league as popular as ever, the lock out seems as though it should be easy to fix. Despite the proposed changes to the draft, the introduction of a hard cap, and increased revenue sharing between franchises, the biggest rift between the NBA players association and the League is how to divide up the NBA’s $4 billion annual revenue. This is the real issue, as the league wants to cut player salaries by $8 billion over the next 10 years. As you might suspect, this is not going over very well with the NBPA, who are the first to point out that the NBA is the most player driven league on the planet. Both sides seem reluctant to negotiate, which as a fan is frustrating to say the least.
The lockout battle is messy and complicated, and I’m not here to pick sides. As a fan of the game I am merely writing this as a plea, figure this thing out. We’ve already missed out on the summer league, and watching Kevin Durant light up Rucker Park did not quite quench my thirst for basketball, but rather made it grow exponentially. I want to see my favorite players play. I want to see my favorite teams play. I want to watch the drama and intrigue that is the NBA season, uninterrupted and un-delayed. In a league with as much young talent as the NBA (Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, and Tyreke Evans, just to name a few) you would think both sides would be eager to get back to business. No games have been missed, and I already miss the NBA