If I had my druthers I’d be a professional NBA writer. As many of you know my favorite sport is basketball and my favorite team is the Detroit Pistons. It is been that way forever. Interestingly enough, when you are a NBA fan in a Canadian world over a span of 40 years it puts you in a class of your own. There aren’t too many of us. And so now in November of 2011 I lament. There is no NBA and after today’s labor action by the NBA players Association, the season might be lost and I’m afraid the NBA is damaged for a long, long time.
For those of you who don’t know and for those of you who don’t care please stay with me. The NBA locked out its players on July 1st. The issue is about money, the owners feeling that they do not make enough and the players not wanting to give up what they have. There was little movement over the summer as both sides seemed intent on letting crunch time get closer, that being the start of the regular season. As we have moved throughout the year the rhetoric has got louder. Both sides in the ongoing labor negotiation have raised the temperature. Then there was today when it seems the whole thing blew up.
I am not going to explain the nuances of the labor issue because I have a very difficult time understanding it myself. What happened on Monday was that the union disbanded taking the NBA to court in an antitrust suit. There was a disclaimer of interest with regard to the union. I don’t know what that means but I do know that it means there will be no NBA basketball for the foreseeable future. In fact the season might be lost. For basketball fans like me it is unfortunate. However, I think the damage goes much farther than that. The casual fan, the person that might be mildly interested in watching the pro game is certainly being discarded.
The NBA has all kinds of casual fans going to games. For instance the stadiums are full of people that don’t know anything about basketball but are there for corporate reasons. That’s okay with me, as I understand that’s the way of the professional sports world. I might find it annoying because I’ve been at Piston games where I was thoroughly ensconced in the action while the people beside me were only interested in the Jumbotron. Then there are all those casual fans that might watch the NBA game on television. Those are the people that they are really going to lose and the collective damage from it will be great. It is such a shame.
Now some of you might be thinking that I might be going a little bit soft with regard to my favorite sport. For instance some of you might think it is only billionaires disagreeing with millionaires and why should I be so concerned about that. Well, you might have a point there. Needless the say, I like what I like and NBA basketball is been a fixture of my life since childhood. I grew up watching Channel 50 and seeing all those Pistons through the years.
The issue I see in the latest breakdown in the NBA labor negotiation is that it is affecting the hard-core fans like me. Sure, some of you may have watched hockey in your younger days or baseball and still do. You are hard-core. I might be hard hard-core, because I hardly miss a minute the Piston action all season. However, these labor events plus the LeBron “Decision” event last year really has muddied the waters for me. I’m finding myself completely disconnected from the NBA like never before. It’s a personal thing for me and surely that’s where it should end. However, if the NBA has alienated a 40-year hard-core fan like me, what’s that say for most of the people that are even mildly interested in professional basketball? It’s not a good thing and permanent damage is being done.
I’d just like my guys to get back on the basketball court and play ball. In fact, I’d like to play ball again but I’m too old now. I played until I was 45 years old but then hung up the sneakers. It got to be dangerous–LOL.
So we shall see what happens next. I’m expecting the season to be canceled and for the air to be let out of the basketball. It’s too bad all those billionaires and millionaires spoiled all the fun. They better hope we’ll come back someday.