David Stern isn’t making any friends by the way he’s handled the current NBA lockout. His self-imposed deadlines and general ill will towards the union have helped to further the feelings of frustration between the two feuding sides. Bryant Gumbel’s rant on HBO Real Sports echoes the many hard feelings brought on by Stern’s approach. Though many might not agree with Gumbel’s choice of words, the emotions conveyed speak loudly and ring true in many ways.
None the less Stern’s approach has helped to finally light a fire under the involved parties as evident by the hideously long mediating session that ensued last night.
With sports mediator extraordinaire George Cohen brought it to help save the season the players and owners engaged in a 16-hour long session that spilled over into Wednesday morning. To keep that momentum going both sides opted to get right back on the saddle again today as more talks continue.
The real talk is whether or not the mediation has arrived a dollar short and a day late. The time to pull all-nighters was three months ago when this debacle first began. But that is neither here nor there.
In the here and now the sense of urgency is perhaps finally setting in thanks to Stern’s threat to cancel Christmas if a deal couldn’t be reached this week.
Depending on whom you talk to yesterday’s session either yielded some progress or none at all. That seems about right given the nature in which this lockout has been covered by the media and handled by the involved parties. Part propaganda, part speculation, most reports on the NBA lockout have been shrouded by a veil of ignorance.
The truth is nobody really knows what is going on in that boardroom. All we know and care about is the continually drawn-out process is bad for the business of basketball. Without any real way of knowing what is being offered and what is being denied we’re all left to choose sides on an unseen battle.
Whether Stern’s heavy-handed approach has the desired results will be proven by the end of the latest mediation. However, even if the new CBA is hammered out there is going to be a lot of PR work to be done by Stern’s office. Given that Stern has said this will be his final labor negotiation it would appear as if he’s trying to go out with the one finger salute.
While I can’t condone the way Stern has gone about his business the proof will be in the pudding. At this point I’m down for whatever it takes to get a deal done. I don’t support any side in this conundrum. All I care about is seeing the Lakers play. Hopefully this last ditch effort won’t be the last hope for the NBA season.