Well, it was good while it lasted, wasn't it.
Like the NFL, the NBA has decided to close it's doors to it's players thanks to an inability to come to terms before the current collective bargaining agreement ended at midnight, Thursday night. But unlike the NFL, this isn't a case of players and owners fighting over who gets the bigger share of a rich profit but a tale of an organization that has been so poorly run that it needs to wrest its profits back from players who are grossly overpayed.
At least that's how it's being portrayed.
I'm not going to claim to know every facet of every part of this situation, especially the reality of the financial situation (my copy of the NBA's books have yet to be faxed over), but from the outside, it's hard to tell who's at fault in this whole mess…but I can guess.
Again, from the outside looking in, the players do have a stranglehold on the league. The most marginal of talents are demanding, and getting, such exorbitant contracts that other teams have no choice but to do the same team to compete. When you throw that fact into the mix then what you have is a bunch of owners throwing away a ton of money on teams that will end up only average at best.
Average teams don't pull in fans. Average teams don't get exposure. Average teams don't make money.
But can you really blame the players for the owners offering huge contracts? Could you turn down millions of dollars, even if deep down you know that you're really not worth it?
No, I didn't think so.
So now that the owners have shot themselves to the point where they are nearly bleeding out, they want to suddenly step back and say NO MORE!
"We had a great year in terms of the appreciation of our fans for our game. It just wasn't a profitable one for the owners, and it wasn't one that many of the smaller market teams particularly enjoyed or felt included in," Commissioner David Stern said. "The goal here has been to make the league profitable and to have a league where all 30 teams can compete."
The reality is that this lockout is going to be a long one, both sides are still very, very far apart in terms of figures. It's a lockout that legitimately threatens the entire next season and all the momentum that the league built in the past year.
It's also a lockout that is sorely needed for the results it will hopefully bring; a league where every team can be competitive and profitable and every player at least marginally happy with the millions they will still be paid.
Photo Credit – AP