The NBA has entered a very bad place right now. Their players have turned down a good offer from ownership in order to risk the current season at a chance for more money? What is this, Let's make a deal? There is no curtain number one or two at stake here. Only the popularity of their sport is going to be risked in the end.
It seems to me that the longer this work stoppage goes on, the more fans are embracing other things and adjusting to life without the NBA just fine. That's dangerous for the NBA. I must admit I am one of those basketball fans that occasionally peeks at the box score or checks out the highlights of my New York Knicks.
Then, last year, they traded for Carmello Anthony and got the attention of every New York sports fan in the world. They made the playoffs, and despite being riddled with injuries and being swept out, there was promise for the future of the Knicks.
Now, with the stoppage reaching yet another month, I find my attention closely tied into New York Giants football and New York Mets off season baseball talk. Blame my work on Big Giants Boom and Mack's Mets for that, though (a big reason I haven't written here in a while).
Between those sports and daily life, the NBA ranks somewhere between underwater mini-golfing and the Oreo licking league. Actually, I prefer the Oreo licking league. At least they have stars. But I digress.
In any event, the NBA will suffer an incredible loss in popularity if this costs them the season. The players need to take a lesson from two places. First, the NFL. This summer, in the height of baseball playoff pushes, the NFL was hard at work. The problem was it was in the courtrooms of America not the fields.
Despite all the legal battles, both sides shut themselves in together for days at a time and emerged weeks later with a tentative deal to save their season. They kept the fans and made the players happy. The owners were forgiven and all is right with the world as America moves on with their sports passion.
The second lesson is from the NHL. It took about five years for them to rebuild their reputation after a work stoppage destroyed their season in 2004. Now, thanks to the greedy millionaire idiots in the NBA, they are currently moving ahead of basketball into the top three sports in the country. Great news to the fans in Canada, eh?
While baseball needed a spark from Cal Ripken Jr, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa to rebuild their tarnished image in 1994, after they cancelled their season halfway through (a move that Montreal Expos fans will never forgive), it is doubtful that the NBA has the type of dramatic story line potential to comeback as quickly as MLB did.
Hockey took a while and the NBA will too. The only way that players and owners can avoid looking like total and complete greedy jerks right now is to play at least a season that would include the Christmas games on to the playoffs.
Anything shorter than that would jeopardize the big money and the lavish lifestyles that would be gained from choosing the wrong deal. Where's Monty Hall when you need him?