Monday, November 14, 2011

Deuces to the 2011-12 NBA Season

"We understand the consequences of potentially missing the season; we understand the consequences that players could potentially face if things don't go our way, but it's a risk worth taking. It's the right move to do."

I've already written about how weird it is that Maurice Evans is vice president of the NBPA. So let's start there.

"We understand the consequences of potentially missing the season."

Do you?

Recap this, Mo: The world's most famous athlete burned his hometown team on national television, announcing his intention to follow through on "if you can't beat 'em, join em." Not since the 70-win Bulls team has there been a season where every opponent brought their A-game. In the beginning, it worked. As the franchise struggled through an initial lack of chemistry, initial lack of faith in the coaching staff, and a to-this-day hatred of everything associated with them, ratings increased. Ticket sales and game attendance increased. The NBA world watched from its collective living room, as the Heatles were on national television every single week.

It took the entire regular season to find the right keys on the Miami piano. When the playoffs rolled around, the Heat obliterated three legitimate Eastern Conference opponents (fine. two.), meeting the Dallas Mavericks in the Finals. And just when a Game 1 blowout signaled the beginning of the end, everything changed. Dirk Nowitzki hoisted not only the Larry O'Brien trophy, but also the relief of humanity.

This season was supposed to be The Response. So I don't think you understand the consequences of potentially missing the season.

"We understand the consequences that players could potentially face if things don't go our way."

Shut your trap, Mo. Of course you understand the consequences that you could potentially face. It's not difficult to be egocentric. But say this to the people who really lose from this lockout.

The janitor at Staples Center. The will-call vendor at Madison Square Garden. The beer man at United Center. The PA guy at The Palace at Auburn Hills. The security at Conseco Fieldhouse. The concessions guy inside TD Garden, and the concessions guy outside Air Canada Centre.

Your paycheck will be delayed. Their paychecks are already gone.

The NBA owners, especially the hardline, 47-53 BRI owners, are greedy SOBs. But you knew that from the beginning. Cash is king to everybody, so why think the game would be any different just because they can afford everything that you can't? Why do people do things? Because they CAN. It is your job to prepare for the worst-case scenario. It is all well and good to hope that the owners will be "fair," but if they happen to be "unfair," you have to tip your cap. Whining and crying just because one party used leverage successfully doesn't get you anywhere. You have to reach for the towel, kneel down, and clean up the milk. If you cry, you're just wasting valuable time, as the milk seeps into the carpet and ultimately becomes less cleanable.

Billionaires beat millionaires 99 times out of 100. The 1 time they don't is when the millionaires put together strong leadership AND they get lucky. Which brings me to the final portion of the quote:

"It's a risk worth taking. It's the right move to do."

The players did not vote on the owners' final offer today. Read that sentence again.

Team representatives and union heads made the decision, but this isn't politics -- scrap the electoral college structure and let each of the 450 players vote on this issue. Many have speculated that if this occurred, the season would be on. And they're right.

Rank-and-file players need money just like you and me, whereas a superstar can chill on his NBA paycheck.  Shaq, for one, is known to have never cashed any of his NBA paychecks for the duration of his career; he relied on the even bigger slice of pie that came from endorsement contracts and movies. But for every Kobe, there are more than a handful of jobbers, like Andy Rautins, who literally moved back into his parents' house. To them, a 50-50 BRI split is fine. To them, a different luxury tax penalty structure is fine. They are more similar to the janitors and the ticket vendors because they need the NBA paycheck to actually reach the threshold of filing an income tax return.

To make matters worse, the NBA offseason coincides with the start of the NFL season. Oh, but it's not just your normal NFL -- the normal NFL that produces ridiculous ratings, gave birth to a money-grubbing phenomenon, and is America's favorite sport that doesn't involve a race car. This year, the NBA offseason coincided with the "we fixed this lockout problem before games were cancelled" NFL. Yup, barely anybody misses the NBA.

The suspects associated with leading the players' union did not fight for the interests of the people who mattered the most, and they were never going to get lucky. I have been a glass half full type of dude about this for months, but now? I just drank the glass. It's not even half empty.


In the wake of the NBA Lockout, your friends at THE GREAT MAMBINO will produce a series of posts in the coming months: "The Top 20 Things We'll Miss About the 2011-12 NBA Season." Look out for it, and may basketball return before it's too late.

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