Day 15 of the NBA lockout has come upon us. The last time I wrote we were somewhere between free agency and opening night, captivating a new season in 2010. Lebron was ready to set foot on new hardwood. The storyline was painted so vividly for you to see played out over 82 games. How else do fans around the world hold onto the night when Lebron became something other than a superstar? He was ready to “embrace” the villain role. It seems like only yesterday had we waited so long for last season until it came and went.
Look where we are now; July 15th 2011. No season to be heard of and the last I heard Kobe went to China. Sounds like the same story for big ticket superstars like Tony Parker, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Dirk Nowitzki. No wait, they’re ready to continue on in David Stern’s league. NBA players do prefer $10 million+ per season in America rather than a ridiculous $5 million or less. The players require it from the league to live such an expensive lifestyle. They expect good money from the league where they knowingly run the league. Do you honestly think for one second guys who are making between $5 to $10 million on average per season want to leave the United States of America to play overseas? Yeah, I didn’t think so either. Risking injury, let alone anything else that could possibly go wrong. Players have the NBA’s upper hand in a sense that they make up the league. The greatest players on Earth breathe life into the NBA every year. Deeper into the bench are your overpaid chumps. Not to name any names; it’s clear they out duel what FIBA’s player pool has to offer. David Stern is sitting on a land mine each and every day.
Like Lebron, it’s easy to fall into the category of the bad guy. Not to get off topic any; look at the countless examples of professional athletes wrecking their fan base. Michael Vick is on his way back, Kobe patched hole after hole like nothing ever happened, same with Tom Brady. Tiger Woods has received royal treatment through his ups and downs, never mind that. This isn’t the first list of athletes who screwed up, and not the last. It’s easy to hate, but Lebron’s “Decision’” clearly hit home to many fans. Fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers are some of the best fans you will ever see. It takes heart to reach “verified fan” level. Fans are still fans of the team they love any way you put it. Now, put aside ranking fans for a second. When these people go out of their way to burn Lebron jersey’s and hate and hate and hate, it matters. This is what shaped the NBA and professional sports into what it is today.
OK, getting back on topic. Let’s take a look at David Stern. His history as captain of the NBA is not good. Does he care about his resume? No, not at all. With vast amounts of money at his disposal comes power. If you belong to his league you follow his rules. David J. Stern stamped his name on the NBA long ago, now it’s time to do something about it. The future doesn’t look bright heading into October. Mr. Stern can and will do the unthinkable to keep everything in his favor.
When ends met, let David Stern’s true colors shine bright once again. The business aspect of it is a lot to handle for anyone. I feel David Stern had no business writing off on the last CBA with no room to spare for the economic hardship we are going through.
#1: The NBA cannot do business without the players association.
#2 When the players set money aside and realize; hey I won’t get paid without owners and a functioning league.
Simple enough? No, not really. There’s never going to be a perfect CBA. Revenue cannot land in the hands of one side; it must be handed out piece by piece. Players feel empowered enough to argue they should continue putting their hand in the pot and leaving little to spare for the owners. Owners have to deal with hard economic times and fork out money to those rightful parties. Players get guaranteed money while owners sit back and wait for the money to be made. Considering all of the above, right off the bat there’s no middle ground. David Stern sat back and watched his bridge to a new CBA collapse. Where to go from here? There’s little to no helping hand left for the owners who fail to fulfill economic expectations time and time again. Relying on new owners doesn’t get it done either. Wherever the problem lies from the past, it always haunts a new owner finding no solution.
Let’s not take for granted the numbers of teams who absolutely have to be losing money. The NBA is top heavy. Why refuse to believe me when you can check the standings from years past. Think of five NBA teams and immediately you’ll realize they are the teams who show up on national TV broadcasts the most, fan merchandise is easy to come by, tickets are pricey for just about any game at any time. While the majority of consumers maintain interest in the best teams the NBA has to offer, they fail to consider what happens to the rest.
Until we pinpoint who’s at fault here, there’s going to be no basketball played next season. I’m writing this one day after the NBA let go of 114 workers. Before you jump on Google, this has no relationship to the lockout. None at all, according to Stern. I’d rather not be the one to speak loudly on such an issue, but David Stern has work to do, papers to be filed, notes to be written, and people to be paid. There’s a reason the NBA employs thousands of workers, seats millions upon millions of fans per season, and makes billions upon billions of dollars. The NBA is 21st century entertainment, its pure business; it makes the world go round.
For the millions of people out there invested in something greater than FIBA, our hopes, and our dreams are a deal will get done before the season goes away. Ultimately the owners or players do not get what they wanted going into negotiations. A new CBA entails far more complicated issues than that. Neither side wants a lockout. Business doesn’t work that way. If you’ve heard owners not wanting to agree on a new CBA to covet finances, well you are far mislead. Name after name, organization after organization relies on the NBA to do business. Players and owners rely on annual paychecks when the time comes. The key to opening the hidden door means whoever holds out the longest ultimately wins. It doesn’t help to add up numbers and say [blank] side lost. The owners bring in more money than the players. They have more to leverage and more time to spare. The players are banking on if they can hold out longer, then the owners step up and deal. If this holds true or not, the owners are prepared to wait out an entire season while players fill in the gaps.
I personally believe the NBA has no other option than to implement a hard cap. From there larger contracts go away, you will never again see 3 superstars occupying one franchise, and smaller markets begin to flourish with all the rest. I think it’s time for Stern to step up and do his duties. I may be asking too much. Until then no more games are to be played. Players have run the league for an eternity it seems. Smaller markets have nothing to gain. Stern promoted his league for his interest. It’s time for a new CBA to meet the requirements of the entire league. Equality through the league opens up a whole new world.
The NBA as it stands is broken. This era is about making money, being the best, and rising to the occasion. Has David Stern not yet found what he is so desperately searching for? Yes and No. The NBA is doing business while failing to meet the outline of economic reality today. The only winning system is one in which players and owners have control. When all parties are doing successful business, the NBA thrives somewhat flawlessly. So who’s going to be the winner? We all lose if the NBA freezes for one full go around.