BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
Day 128 of the NBA Lockout is history and the impasse between the players and the owners continues.
But is anybody really surprised this saga has dragged on?
NBA Commissioner David Stern gave the players an offer and a Wednesday deadline to accept 51-percent of basketball-related income or get ready for a deal that's a whole lot worse.
You know the players are going to reject this proposal, but does anybody really care?
The NFL and College Football Seasons are in full gear so nobody pays any attention to the NBA until Christmas. That's when the NBA has a handful of games and 10 television markets involved.
College Basketball figures to gain from the lockout because for those die hards looking for hoops action, they'll be able to follow their respective universities as they hope to make a run to the NCAA Basketball Tournament in March.
The biggest beneficiary should be the National Hockey League. They'll have the Winter Professional Sports Market all to themselves.
This would be a great opportunity for NBC and Versus to add more games to their television schedule. Maybe they could move a game or two to Christmas Day.
More importantly, the game attendance in the NHL, especially in cities where there are NBA teams, should increase because the fans will have an alternative.
It's a great way for the NHL to entice those NBA fans to attend their games and expand their fan base. Lets see if the NHL marketing people can create new promotions aimed at putting bodies in the seats using the NBA Lockout in their campaigns to fill their stadiums.
The NBA players just seem to forget that there is a major recession going on in this country.
At my day job, I work in Credit Repair as a Sales Representative for Acquinity Interactive (Unique Consulting Group).
The stories that I hear could produce multiple books and I get sick to my stomach when I listen to the misfortunes of other people. Yet it amazes me inside and drains me at night when I can or can't help someone out.
One of my colleagues is a retired major league baseball player and it boggles our minds at what we hear on a daily basis.
So for those players that think they have things tough, I dare them to talk to a single person that is on Social Security Disability, who gets paid once a month, with an income ranging between $500-$1000 per-month, and also needs food stamps.
These folks can't get new vehicles because their credit score is poor, have a low income, are victims of Identity Theft, went through Bad Divorces and are flooded with Collection Mail, etc...
I hear the word Bankruptcy in my sleep at night and the ways people reached that point is beyond my wildest of imaginations.
How about some of these other athletes that made their millions of dollars and are bankrupt that lost their homes. They made bad investments and realize their income levels would never meet their overhead when their playing days are over.
In recent years, former NBA Players like Rick Mahorn, Derrick Coleman, Latrell Sprewell and former NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar come to mind. I know there are many others that I'm not mentioning. These are just a few examples.
But as I spend 40 hours a week listening to the hardships of others, my message to NBAPA President Derek Fisher, is if the NHL can shut down for a year, the NBA is prepared to.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Stern are close friends. You know they've talked about this and Stern is ready to finally find a system that makes sense for his league.
Once the Christmas Games are cancelled, you know that Stern will give Bettman his blessings to see if he can land another nationally televised game or two if the NHL were to go in this direction.
The NBAPA can hold out all they want. But will they be able to a year from now? How far will all these antitrust actions go in court?
It is an owners right to make as much money as they can and certainly be able to determine if they should operate a business if they're going to lose money?
One thing that I find amusing about all of this is would Charlotte Bobcats Owner Michael Jordan take the same deal his fellow owners are offering if he was still playing?
Whether it be 47-51 percent, I doubt it. But the Hall of Fame player is now a business man and he doesn't want to lose money.
The fans will have no trouble filling their holidays if the NBA isn't on television. Whether it's the other sports, spending more time with their families, etc... nobody really cares and sympathy will be at an all-time low especially in this economy.
Sports fans will also talk about the great World Series that just concluded, the off-season managerial changes that are expected to be filled shortly in Boston, Chicago Cubs and World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
There will be the hot stove league as teams make changes to take the Cardinals title away. Then in February, it will be time for Spring Training.
But when the lockout does end, just like in other sports, the backlash from the fans will be tremendous and I do believe that it will take years for the NBA to recover.
When you lose a season, people will find other ways to entertain themselves. When a league loses the playoffs and doesn't crown a champion, that's fatal.
Major League Baseball and the NHL have already done this and found out the hard way. The bad taste left in the mouths of the fans takes several years to recover.
The NFL has labor peace and we'll be able to count on many more Super Bowls to be played. Thankfully, no Super Bowl has ever been lost. We have another Super Bowl to look forward to in February in Indianapolis.
So by the end of business Wednesday, will we be seeing more players looking to play basketball overseas, or will they be opening up NBA arenas this year?
My prediction, Good Riddance NBA until we meet again in 2012-2013 when one party is going to cave in.
This time though it will be the players that finally realize their bills have due dates and if they don't pay them, they'll need Credit Repair Services.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.
- Scott Morganroth
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