Out of Bounds! 5 Reasons We’re Mad About The NBA Lockout
So, it happened. After three hours of failed negotiations between the NBA and the players’ union yesterday in New York City, the NBA’s team owners officially closed up shop and locked out the players—effective as of 12:01 a.m. today. And in case you aren’t familiar with what a “lockout” entails, here’s all you need to know: It means that unless the two sides come to an agreement before this fall, there very well might not be a 2011-2012 NBA season.
Yes, it seems like just yesterday we were singing the NBA’s praises after a stellar 2011 NBA Playoffs and wondering if the league could get any better right now. Turns out, it could. Namely, by getting a new collective bargaining agreement in place ASAP in order to ensure that the players won’t be locked out for long. Unfortunately, that seems like a long shot, as we could be in for a veeeeeery bumpy (and long!) ride over the course of the next few months as the NBA, the NBA team owners, and the NBA players try to all get on the same page.
As we continue to deal with the ongoing NFL lockout, this NBA lockout couldn’t have come at a worse time. And partly because of the NFL lockout, we’re even more upset about the way the NBA is handling its’ labor dispute. To show you what we mean, we came up with a list of five reasons that we’re mad about the NBA lockout. Hey, fellas: Get it together!
1. The NBA failed to learn anything from the NFL this year.
The NBA isn’t entering unchartered territory with it comes to lockouts. They have to look no further than the NFL to see the damage that a lockout can do. Yet, it seems they’ve largely ignored the impending lockout—at least, publicly—and failed to address it as often as they should have during the duration of the 2010-2011 season. Of course, we know why they didn’t: They had a great group of talented teams to promote and used it to their advantage as they rode a high through the 2011 NBA Playoffs. However, that only makes this lockout worse as a lot of fans, ourselves included, now feel somewhat blindsided by it. Note to future pro sports leagues facing lockouts: Do not ignore the elephant in the room!
2. David Stern has done very little to keep fans in the loop during labor negotiations.
As recently as a few weeks ago, the NBA Commissioner was asked on live national TV during a playoff game about the lockout. His response: A stern look (pun intended!) and a salty answer. Throughout the playoffs, Stern was basically unwilling to put himself out there to address the lockout. He remained “optimistic” but didn’t offer much information on the ongoing negotiations. Again, that’s left fans feeling caught off guard today. The general consensus was that Stern had something up his sleeve that he’d pull out to stop the lockout. But it was all a smokescreen to keep our eyes on the playoffs and off of the lockout.
3. The excitement for a 2011-2012 season would have been at an all-time high.
If nothing else, we’re pissed off about the lockout because it puts the ’11-’12 NBA season in serious jeopardy. Owners and players are so far apart on the issues at hand—contracts, in particular—that we don’t see the lockout ending anytime soon. That means that the league will lose a valuable chance to carry over all the momentum they received from the Dallas Mavericks NBA Finals victory over the Miami Heat. And that’s a real shame, especially when you consider that last season was the NBA’s best season in years.
4. NBA players don’t really seem all that concerned about the lockout.
Derek Fisher took a family vacation when he was supposed to be helping negotiate for the players a few weeks ago. Kevin Durant told reporters that he forgot all about the lockout until they asked him about it yesterday. And Gilbert Arenas and Dwight Howard have been too busy “planking” to notice that their league is in trouble right now. Seriously, guys: At least act like you’re worried about the lockout. Maybe you are and you’re just not showing it. But in order to keep the fans on your side, you have to pretend that you’re concerned about the well-being of the league. Otherwise, why should we care about it?
5. A lot of people are going to be impacted negatively by the lockout.
The worst part about the NBA lockout: All of the trainers, team personnel, and stadium staffers that are going to lose out BIG TIME as a result of it. Think about all of the people who make average salaries working for NBA teams—and then think about all of the billionaire NBA owners and millionaire NBA players. And then think about who the real loser is as a result of this lockout. It’s one of the many reasons the NBA needs to gets its’ act together quickly and make sure this lockout turns into a distant memory as quickly as possible.