NBA Lockout: Players in control

Am I the only one who doesn’t care if the NBA season isn’t starting on time?
Probably not, but I thought I would put it out there. I don’t care that games
have been lost because quite honestly, the season is too long anyway. It takes
6 months to eliminate less than half of the teams in the league, and then
another 2 + months to decide a champion with the remaining playoff teams.
That’s another subject for another day.

This lockout is one of the dumbest things I have ever seen and blame lies
solely at the feet of the NBA and its owners. The league and its owners have
created this debacle and the players hold all the leverage because they are
truly what the league is made of. As seen what happened in Cleveland last year,
one player can truly make your franchise. The Cleveland Cavaliers went from the
top team in the league to worst in the league because of one player’s decision
to take his talents to South Beach.

The players are in control of this negotiation and they know it. That’s why
there has not been an agreement and games have been canceled. Is that a selfish
thought on the part of the players? You could say that. But this is where the
NBA is in trouble. The NBA may be the premier basketball league in the world,
which is only because of its talent, and the players know that.

Since basketball is a global sport the players are taking advantage of that
exposure and signing lucrative “part-time” player contracts with
teams overseas whose pockets are deeper and don’t have salary cap restrictions
such as the NBA. Those types of transactions just show you that the players do
not need the NBA, and in Cleveland’s case the NBA, and its owners, truly need
their players. Now the elite players are planning a ten day world tour to play
exhibition games, that may or may not happen, but it goes to show that the
players can continue without the league. Recently, Knicks forward Amare
Stoudemire said that there were talks of the players starting their own league.
When asked it about it on SportsCenter, his teammate Carmelo Anthony simply
said “Tell me where and when and I will be there”.

This type of leverage has been 25 years in the making and it all sits at the
office of the NBA. They created this monster and the chickens have come home to
roost. If there is a person to blame, and to no fault of his own, it’s Michael
Jordan. In the heyday of the NBA, the 80’s, the league was structured the same
but the marketing was completely different. On Sunday afternoon’s you would see:

  • “The Boston Celtics take on Arch Rival Philadelphia 76ers live from the
    Boston Garden”.

  • “Live from the Great Western Forum in Inglewood California it’s the Los
    Angeles Lakers vs. The Boston Celtics in game 3 of the NBA Finals”

 Although the league rode their two young superstars Larry Bird and Magic
Johnson it was a team oriented marketing strategy. On June 19, 1984 that all
changed. The Chicago Bulls with the 3rd overall pick selected Michael Jordan of
the University of North Carolina. Johnson and Bird were heading into the back
end of their careers and Michael Jordan was going to take the reign. Shoe
deals, underwear deals, and sports drink deals soon followed Jordan and the NBA
jumped on that bandwagon and once Magic and Larry were gone the promos would be

  • “Michael Jordan and the Bulls take on Shaquille O’Neal and the

The NBA was no longer a team game, it had been individualized.
Since then the players have cashed in on the individualization of the NBA. The
endorsements these players get are astronomical in this world wide game. The
players are promoting products in countries all over the world. Charles Barkley
was able to become a marketing icon, he never won a championship. Lebron James
is the heir apparent to Michael Jordan, no rings.

It is no longer about the rings, it’s about the dollars. If the NBA is not
willing to give in to the players, they will go get it elsewhere, and they will
get it. So if the NBA wants to end their lockout anytime soon, sign the
proposal the players give you. If it means that teams need to fold, then so be
it, it means they should have never had a franchise in the first place.

Coming Right Atcha

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