by Justin Cherot

This summer should have been awesome.  Don’t get me wrong: in many ways it was.  After all, I did become a homeowner with a certified Man Cave that’s so awesome it deserves capital letters.  Sure, I had to deal with everything that comes along with home ownership (mowing, garden cultivating, painting, paying ridiculous bills that to this day seem to be coming out of the woodwork, etc.). 

But you know what?  I was riding high because my Dallas Mavericks FINALLY BROKE THROUGH AND WON AN NBA TITLE!!!!!  I just knew that it would be a summer of “I told you so’s” and glowing coverage of my favorite team. 

But during that Dallas series my daughter broke her arm in a freak accident, which wore me out to the degree where I couldn’t enjoy the win.  I mean, a five-year old breaking her arm during the summer?  You don’t get that back.  Then we had the pair of lockouts in the NFL and the NBA.  After missing only one meaningless preseason game, pro football got their act together and figured things out because, hey, their model just needed a couple of tweaks since everybody save for the Jacksonville Jaguars (enjoy football there while it lasts, guys) is profiting. 

I guess the nieve fan in me didn’t want to believe how financially hamstrung my favorite league was.  Apparently even after a wildly successful season, the NBA reported losses of over $300 million.  Accurate or not, I should have known that neither side was going to concede quickly, especially the owners, who didn’t make any true concessions until last week, 149 days after locking out the players. 

Thanks to Twitter , I was able to keep tabs on the entire process, the long negotiating sessions where reporters were camped in hotel lobbies similar to the way I camped out years ago to get Maryland tickets.  I also kept tabs on the potential fan backlash by scouring Intenet message boards on various websites.  I found about four different types of posters: the ones favoring the players; the ones favoring the owners (a subset of this group was a bunch of pseudo-racist posters who classified the players as “greedy thugs” and wondering “how baby’s mothers would get money”); people who blamed both parties and just wanted there to be basketball, and finally people who said they would never watch another second of NBA basketball.  Respectively, I would guesstimate 20%, 35%, 30% and 15%.

My stance?  It’s easy for the casual observer to say that the employees shouldn’t be earning more than the bosses, but you can’t compare the NBA, or any sports league for that matter, to any other profession except for the movie industry.  True, a studio needs to buy the movie, someone needs to produce it, someone needs to direct it.  But while it’s not out of the question for someone to say, “Hey, I’m going to see Inception because Christopher Nolan is directing it and I friggin’ loved Memento“, Leonardo DiCaprio is the cause for people flocking to the movie theatres in this case.  I guarantee a good 25-30% of my audience (if I have one) probably just asked who the hell Christopher Nolan was. 

Sports is a unique industry where the talent, at least the elite talent, can justify earning owner-type money, which is why I credited them for giving back as much money as they did.  However, the owners ultimately won the negotiating session by gaining approximately seven percent of basketball related income. 

But, at the end of the day, here I am this morning watching the 2011 finals on NBATV, the first semblance of modern day basketball we’ve seen on that channel since July 1st.  I just finished watching Game 2, the game where Dirk Nowitzki cemented his legacy as one of the top 20 players in the league’s history by orchestrating one of the most ridiculous comebacks in NBA history.  The shot Nowitzki where the Mavs took the lead for the first time since the beginning of the second half gives me goosebumps, not because of the shot itself, but the crowd’s reaction as the shot was leaving his hands.  Collective shock and awe reverberated from the crowd as though they couldn’t believe this was happening, like they were witnessing a murder. How is the best shooter on the floor getting that wide-open of a look? How are we blowing a 15-point lead with under seven minutes left?  


I’m not going to lie: the lockout left in awful taste in my mouth.  It shouldn’t have lasted as long as it did.  Both sides need to re-evaluate leadership roles down the road. 

But at the end of the day, my world is much better with the NBA back.


2 thoughts on “Back…

  1. Pingback: Summer Basketball Leagues In Maryland | BasketBall Information and Free Tutorials

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