The latest round of negotiations between the NBA players and owners broke down after they failed to reach an agreement. Commissioner-4-Life and all-around tool David Stern canceled all games through November. Having already lost the pre-season, there will not be a regular 82 game regular season.
Can’t you see how upset I am about this? I feel bad for the fans, the people whose livelihoods depends on the NBA and the cheerleaders and the groupies and baby mamas. I don’t feel bad for the players or owners at all. They made this mess all by themselves and they will be the ones who will have to clean it up.
Mostly though it’s David Stern’s mess.
As currently the longest-serving commissioner in pro sports (27 years), Stern has gone from presiding over the rise of the NBA when Magic Johnson, Larry Brown and Michael Jordan entered the league to the mouthpiece of a bunch of greedy and stupid owners who bitch about the inflated contracts they give to marginal players and then demand those same players give them a bail out to save them from themselves.
“Stop me before I spend again!” is the mantra of the NBA’s brain-dead owners.
The NBA is a league where superstar players are emphasized and great teams are not. That’s fine when there are enough superstars to go around, but there aren’t as anyone knows who has purchased an NBA League Pass to watch a dog shit team like the Minnesota Timberwolves grinding it out against the Toronto Raptors.
The only thing worse than your average NBA game is the dishonest scheming of Stern and the 30 morons whose rank stupidity has made the regular season an unwatchable slog.
Writing in New York magazine Will Leitch said: Actually, what Commissioner David Stern (who represents the league’s owners in their collective-bargaining dispute with the players) is up to might be even more audacious than what your Citigroups and AIGs got away with. Because at least we know that those companies did lose a ton of money. While the league asserts that its teams lost a collective $300 million last year, the NBA’s finances are opaque. It’s very much up for debate whether the league is losing money at all. Its self-reported revenues are rising faster than player salaries, and it’s hard to see why other expenses would be so onerous—of the nearly $2.1 billion spent on stadium construction and renovation since 2000, a Holy Cross study found, $1.75 billion was financed by taxpayers rather than ownership. And every time someone sells an NBA team, he sells it for much more than he bought it for. (A guy named Chris Cohan bought the Golden State Warriors before the 1995 season for $119 million, guided the team to the playoffs exactly once over the next sixteen years, then sold the team for $450 million two summers ago.) It seems that what losses there are would have to be largely the result of individual owners’ incompetence.
Despite all that, according to writer Tom Ziller, the league’s most recent offer calls for a permanent yearly cut to player salaries of either $240 million or $280 million, depending on which beat reporter’s version of the owners’ offer you’re using. The players, then, would be locked into essentially paying for 80-plus percent of the owners’ losses, which may not actually exist and, if they do, owe at least partly to the awfulness of an economy that will eventually improve. (It will!) Meanwhile, bear in mind that owners do not have to give out big contracts to bad players if they don’t want to. Any team losing money can cut payroll. And that won’t necessarily affect on-court performance, because, as always in sports as in life, you don’t have to spend the most to be the best: The Oklahoma City Thunder paid its players $58 million and won 55 games last year, while the Toronto Raptors paid $70 million and won 22 (financial data provided by ShamSports.com).
So here’s what the owners are saying to the players: “We’ve made so many poor spending choices lately that we’ve lost money, even without having to pay for our own facilities and even as the NBA has grown more popular. And we’d like you to give up enough money to make it almost a certainty that we never lose money again, even if we make all these same mistakes for a second time and the economy never improves.”
Unlike the NFL Lockout there’s no sense of urgency to the NBA losing regular season games in November. Who pays any attention to pro basketball when the NFL is going strong? I know I don’t even think about the NBA until the Super Bowl is over. There’s no reason to. Everybody the players don’t start playing hard until after the ridiculous All-Star weekend of tired jerk-off “events” like the Slam Dunk contest.
These kind of bouts between players and owners are usually described as a fight between millionaires and billionaires, but in the NBA where the average salary is $4.79 million per year or nearly $92,199 per week.
I’m trying to feel bad for someone scrub trying to eke out an existence on a measly $5 million, but somehow I just can’t seem to work up any sympathy for them. Not that I’m worried about those impoverished owners when 12 of them can be found on Forbes’ 400 wealthiest Americans.
Here’s what I want from the NBA: Nothing Go away and stay away. I’m tired of the tedious regular season as the bricklayers laughingly called “the best athletes in the world” can’t knock down a jump shot, swish a free throw or execute a two-on-one fast break. I’m even more tired of Stern, the little tyrant who covers the asses of bumbling owners and outright racists like Donald Sterling, a lifetime member on any list of the worst owners in professional sports.
Come back when you’re fixed your insane salary structure and stopped screwing over the fans with poor play watered down by too many untrained players with no fundamentals, dull and unimaginative coaching, obscene ticket prices and screwing fans over with too many games that mean nothing and too many franchises that could disappear tomorrow and most fans would never know they’re gone. Yes, I’m looking at you Clippers, Kings, Warriors, Raptors, Wizards and Timberwolves. You’d all be gone with the wind and by dispersing your rosters it would help replenish the league’s shallow talent pool.
The owners run the commissioner and the agents run the players and all of them are running what once was a great game right in the ground. I’m not even mad about it. I don’t care enough to get mad. It doesn’t matter Stern cancels the whole damn season because I don’t love this game. I don’t even miss this game.
- Collateral damage set to pile up as talks collapse (reuters.com)
- Air Ball: November Shot As NBA Cancels More Games (thebiglead.com)