Season on the brink: NBA Lockout

Season on the brink: NBA Lockout

used under Creative Commons from thestatechamp

Commisioner David Stern throwing his hands up in innocence. The player’s union recently disbanded, which prompted Stern to officially state that the full 2011-2012 season is now in jeopardy.

Rohit Ramkumar, Staff Writer

Picture this: third and ten, two minutes remaining in the game, and the Cleveland Browns need a first down. Browns quarterback Colt McCoy drops back and finds LeBro.n James for a 15 yard gain. That’s right, if the nice folks at the National Basketball Association (NBA) don’t end the lockout, we might see King James take his talents to the gridiron. James opened up this possibility when he tweeted months ago to ESPN NFL analyst John Clayton, “When is the deadline for a team to sign a free agent?”

The 1999 NBA season was the last to see its regular season cut short with a lockout. However, the season did end up starting on Feb. 5 after a new six-year Collective Bargaining Agreement(CBA) was put in place by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. All games in Nov. of the 2011 season are already officially cancelled and NBA Commissioner David Stern believes we will have no basketball by Christmas.

The NBA lockout has obviously created anxiousness among fans, owners, and players. The impass between the owners and players seems to have no end. However, Josh Arfin (‘13) believes that this particular lockout benefits the players and the owners.

“This is the first lockout that makes sense. The owners are not making money and the players have other options to make money. However, I think that this situation will be solved at some point”, he said.

If you’re wondering what the lockout means and what its all about, here is some background.

1. Why a lockout?

To keep it simple, The NBA claims that 22 of its 30 teams are losing money, and the league and owners are not happy.

2. What does a lockout mean?

To keep it simple once again, players and teams cannot coordinate any activities such as practices or scrimmages. Players cannot be contacted by teams. Pretty much, everything comes to a standstill.

3. What are some of the issues?

Money, money, and did I mention money?

A cancelled season is definitely not in the NBA’s best interest. Popularity ratings for the league have been on a small, yet steady decrease over the last decade. Part of this has to do with Michael Jordan retiring, as ratings plummeted after arguably the greatest player of all time hung up the sneakers. Additionally, the infamous referee scandal and various brawls that have taken place during games have drawn negative views towards the league.

However, this past season’s ratings spiked as a free-agency frenzy led to popular teams like the Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Lakers all competing for the championship. Last season’s success set the bar even higher for this year. A winter dominated by football would surely destroy what popularity the NBA has left. Of course die-hard basketball fans will stay hooked, but sports fans general will shift their focus to the tight college football and NFL races.

In my opinion, this lockout is a messy situation. Now I’m going to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the NBA. I don’t religiously watch any team in the league (although I did jump on the Warriors bandwagon when they made the playoffs). Nevertheless, what is going with this lockout is truly disheartening. The bottom line is that owners have a very real problem that they are facing, and the players are having to compromise financially because of it.

As an owner, it can be scary to see your team losing money in a small-market city like Minnesota, were basketball takes a back seat to hockey and football. To make things worse, the economic state of this country makes it even tougher to keep a financially struggling team above water. Just look at the Los Angeles Dodgers.

However, it is also hard to not side with the players. Obviously, superstars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are not having trouble with money during the lockout. But in fact, it is the lesser known players who are suffering. These players don’t have big multi-million dollar contracts, and it is difficult to support a family, possibly without a job. They must find common jobs that people perform today.

There is also a certain group of people who are overlooked when it comes to the affects of the lockout: the employees of these teams and their respective stadiums. People like team doctors, managers, and stadium employees are feeling the effects of the lockout. It must be scary to think that you don’t have a stable job in this kind of economy.

I think that problem will eventually be solved. The owners and players will eventually work out a deal. The prospect of seeing a full season go away is just too great for these two groups. I think that this deal will probably favor the players in some way but one can never know what goes on behind closed doors. Jake Kerman (‘13) has a different view on the possible end of the lockout.

“I don’t think this problem will not be solved anytime soon because the gap is just too big between the owners and the players”, he said.

Well one things for sure, if we don’t have an NBA season, I’m sure no sports fan in Cleveland wants to see Lebron choke in the fourth quarter of a football game.