A few weeks ago, on July 25th, the NFL players voted to approve a new deal just a few days after the owners approved a tentative new agreement, finally putting an end to the four and a half month lock-0ut that had football fans in a panic. The recent lockout was the longest in league history.
Well, this is wonderful for our fellow football advocates, but where does that leave the NBA? Traditionally the NBA season begins the last week of October. But as we barrel towards September and there is no sign of pre-season insight fans and especially season ticket holders are getting worried. Though the lock-out began Friday, July 1st, by the second week of the lock-out already 11% of the NBA had lost their jobs. The impact of the NBA lockout couldn’t be predicted.
As things stand now, the NBA lockout is headed for the courts, and we don’t mean basketball courts. The owners of the NBA went on a strike nearly two weeks ago, filing an unfair labour practice lawsuit against the players to nip any chance of decertification in the butt. In spite of the bold move on the owners part, many predict this will do nothing but prolong the work stoppage and that this is the NBA league’s attempt at gaining bargaining power by strong-arming the players. As for now, however, the Union has not decided to decertify, though fans believe it would be the best move for the players at this point. The message being sent by the owners is there will be no compromising on a hard salary cap or progress in meeting other union demands.
It seems inevitable that in spite of the owners aggressive and offensive actions, the NBA would eventually agree. But it may take some missed games (or a missed season, heck!) along with some bad publicity to end the lockout.
The NBA lockout brings up an interesting point of view- what about elderly NBA players who couldn’t dream of making what the NBA players of today are asking. For example, Bob Cousy who is now 83, retired in 1963 as one of the NBA’s highest-paid players; at $35,000 a year! For NBA stars of the past, some held several jobs to make their bills. Of course, Basketball has since gained much popularity and the days of an average salary of $10,000 a year with no pension plans are far behind us. Still, some might say that the new NBA model is flawed because the popularity of the NBA has not yet caught up with its growth. In other words, unless your the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Boston Celtics, or the New York Knicks, you are going to more likely struggle and meeting the new NBA demands would be impossible from an owners perspective. The NBA has expanded to so many cities, and the success of the majority of them is nowhere near that of Boston, Los Angeles, or New York.
One thing this lockout is proving; the popularity of Basketball has exploded and reached levels that could never have been predicted in 1963. But it seems we can all agree- let’s get this settled so we can all enjoy the game.