The NBA Lockout: Preparing for the Worst

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock or you are Amish, you’d know that their lies a legitimate threat that there is no NBA season for the scheduled 2011-2012 season and possibly beyond because of an NBA lockout.

A sports lockout occurs when its team owners and players association cannot come to an agreement on the terms on the NBA mainly predicated around money and how revenues are shared and distributed amongst the teams and players. Pretty much, the employers (the owners) prevent the employees (the players) from working because they’re caught in a power struggle over money. At 12:00am on July 1, 2011 the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (the contract which determines wages, work hours, training, health/safety, grievance mechanisms and rights to participate in the NBA) expired thus putting a temporary pause *crosses fingers* on all basketball operations for players.

Now to the untrained eye, it would be assumed the NBA lockout would work itself out based solely off of how ‘quickly’ the NFL lockout was resolved but I’m afraid it’s not that easy. The main difference between the NFL and NBA lockout is that in the NFL, the majority of teams were making a profit thus making it easier to come to an agreement as no one side (neither the owners nor the players) were in serious danger of losing an excess amount of money by their standards. On the flipside, the NBA reported that only 8 teams made a profit last season and that the NBA as a league has been operating in the red for at least the past 5 years. Of course, these claims can all be called into question because its information that is being produced directly from one side of the conflict but there is no arguing that the state of the NBA as a league is declining strictly from a business standpoint. With the vast number of leagues changing ownership in the midst of our nation’s economic woes, we have even witnessed the NBA itself purchase a franchise (New Orleans Hornets) to save a franchise from bankruptcy. The owners are forcing the players’ union hand to dropping their 57% basketball revenue income (how big a piece of the pie that the players get out of the revenues accrued by the NBA) to a number they see manageable. The players offered to drop they’re BRI 54.3% and subsequently decreasing player salaries by $500 million over the next five years; needless to say, the owners were not at all pleased and wanted the players union to scale down that number to around 40% (a 17% decrease for the players) and thus the NBA Lockout of 2011 was born.

Now if you guys do not believe that the players and owners are crazy enough to entertain a lockout, think again. Players have already began bracing themselves for impact and are looking at alternate means of livelihood in the form of basketball oversees. We’re seeing an increasing trend of NBA role players and even NBA stars whose names are swirling amidst rumors of signing contracts to play basketball oversees. The NBA has no bargaining power in this matter since they locked their players out meaning technically, there are no NBA players. This is an alarming sign and a foreshadowing that the players either are losing faith or have already lost faith in their being a new CBA before considerable damage is done to the prospects of a 2011-2012 NBA season. Sure, most players in the NBA didn’t earn a college degree but they are not stupid by any means. If the players are losing faith then that means the threat is real, even Stevie Wonder and Helen Keller’s lovechild could see that.

The NBA lockout is one of greed and selfishness, but also one of business. As it stands, the owners are losing more money and are willing to do whatever it takes to get that money back. Shamefully, corporate America (the owners) has a great deal of the bargaining power in this situation and it remains to be seen how this will affect the landscape of one of our nation’s most beloved professional sports. One this is for sure, we have just entered the eye of the storm and things are going to get ugly. As fans of such a prestigious sport and league, we can only pray that the owners and players alike swallow their pride for the good of the game.

~Shango X


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