It should serve as a wakeup call to all involved in the National Basketball Association that what would have been the start of the NBA season has came and passed, and few sports fans even noticed.
While millions of fantasy football players submitted add/drop requests before the weekly deadline of their leagues, very few lamented the absence of a professional sport that has steadily grown less entertaining and competitive since 1991.
Had the NFL lockout delayed or scratched the start of the season, it would have been a day of mourning for hundreds of millions of passionate fans all over the globe. The would-be opening day would not have been celebrated with backyard cookouts and giant flat screen televisions, but rather with a huge sense of loss and a growing feeling of internal emptiness.
The city of Sacramento is home to an NBA team that has been below average ever since their window of opportunity was unceremoniously slammed shut by questionable officiating in the 2001 Western Conference Finals, and a knee ligament of Chris Webber’s was torn in the following postseason. The powers that be are now getting ready to decide once and for all if the city will be ponying up a billion dollars to build a new home for a team that exists in a league that can no longer meet the terms of the employee contracts they so proudly signed and boasted of in recent years.
To better put the figures in perspective, the third or fourth best player on any given NBA team makes about as much money as is needed to cover all expenses involved in running a public high school with 2,500 students for one entire year. Teacher salaries, busses for sports teams, electricity bills – the whole sha-bang.
On the proverbial anatomy of professional sports, the NFL lockout, much like a shotgun wound, universally qualified as a Grade-A crisis. The NBA lockout seems to be little more than a scratched knuckle. Very few folks that do not have a vested interest in the league even care about the developments of the lockout, and the only folks that are publicly up in arms are sportswriters that are paid handsomely to cover the NBA – a category in which your humble author does not fall into.
The fact that dozens of NBA players have commanded amounts of money that seem to exceed what the most valuable and worthwhile members of any society could possibly be worth certainly isn’t their fault, but it is the pebble that derailed the locomotive in this instance. Given that very few working-class sports fans are currently in a position to shed tears for people making thousands of times as much money as them to play a game, the NBA is going to have to sort out their monetary hangups without the benefits that the NFL had, such as a passionate fan base openly pleading for them to arrive at a resolution.