NBA owners are cutting off their own noses just to spite their smug faces. This much is clear by the way the lockout and subsequent negotiating sessions have gone. After a season that saw the NBA take huge strides towards expanding the brand, the owners have chosen to poorly in their approach to this labor strife.
By painting the union into a corner the owners have shown themselves to be the greedy price gougers many viewed them as prior to the lockout. Keep in mind they agreed to the hideous revenue split of 57-43 the last time we saw an NBA work stoppage. Now they’re back with a vengeance looking to take back every last penny possible.
Thus far the players are the ones that have made the most concessions. That is not to say all fault lies with the owners. But this is a lockout and not a strike. The players have conceded 5% of their share while owners continue to ask for more.
Last night should have been a celebration. This lockout should have been over long ago and fans should have rejoiced at the sight of seeing their favorite players open a season that had been salvaged. Instead last night was a reminder of how little progress has been made despite numerous lengthy negotiating sessions.
This lockout is a threat not only to this season but to professional hoops as a whole in this country.
Let’s not kid ourselves. The NBA will never be on the level of the NFL. Forget about profitability. This fact has been proven by the nature in which the parties involved in the NFL lockout went about their business relative to how those involved in NBA lockout have handled theirs. That being said this season could have been a major moment in NBA history. With interest in Major League Baseball dwindling, the NBA had a great opportunity to put itself into the number two spot in America’s heart without contention.
But that was not to be. Not when you’ve got near-sighted owners who only concentrate on their bottom line and not the league’s health. Just ask the NHL what a difficult task it is to regain momentum after a season is lost. This is the same fate NBA owners are flirting with.
To be fair Billy Hunter has no business walking away from talks when he gets frustrated. He owes it to the players to grind it out just as the owners owe it to the fans to make the most earnest effort possible.
All of the public posturing is unnecessary. Nobody cares if there are backroom talks. At this point we’re all for whatever gets the NBA back to the business of playing basketball instead of haggling over it.
Without any concern for the future of basketball the owners are showing themselves to be a selfish unit. Not all owners are in this category but this is a case of guilt by association. The National Basketball Association is not bigger than the game. Hoops will be alive and well with or without the NBA. That is what the owners fail to comprehend. Their job is to push the product. By playing this contentious game of chicken the owners are picking a bad time to try and save face.
Whatever revenue has been lost is forever gone. The owners must make their peace with that. Going forward it is on them to make better business decisions. This continued insistence on making the players pay for the bad business practices of the owners is an unfortunate crime against the game.
One day we’ll look back at this moment in history as the most crucial decision in modern hoops history. If both sides can make a deal thusly saving a potentially phenomenal season then we’ll remember this as a turning point. Should the opposite happen and we lose an entire season then we’ll remember this as the NBA shooting itself in the foot just as it was crossing the finish line.
Either way we’re clearly at the crossroads. Just which direction the league goes should be decided by the owners. Problem is they keep pushing their problems on the players.
Unable to see the big picture the owners are the ignorant type that go to museums and spend their time arguing what is art and what isn’t instead of just appreciating talent. After all, anyone with money can become an owner of a professional franchise. Yet only those with talent can be allowed to play for those franchises. It is time for the owners to step back and see the error of their ways. Otherwise we’re looking at the possibility of the NBA becoming a marginal sports league seen on cable channels nobody can find.