NBA Lockout: Ranking the Biggest Villains in Labor Dispute

Joe AcampadoCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2011

NBA Lockout: Ranking the Biggest Villains in Labor Dispute

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    Well, it's official.  The first two weeks of the regular season have been cancelled meaning commissioner David Stern has delivered on his threat of cancellation when necessary.

    But he isn't the only villain here.  Both sides are to blame for this.

    The owners have called the players greedy.  The players have done the same to the owners.  Neither one of them wants to back down as a clash of misguided egos is preventing basketball from happening.

    From the way things look now, a deal isn't likely to be reached soon.

    This is really disappointing in light of the entertaining season the NBA had last year.  Remember the NBA Finals?  Yeah, neither do I.  All I remember is months of labor disputes.

    Let's go ahead and rank the guys who are preventing basketball from happening.

6. Deron Williams

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    Yeah, I'm putting him on here.  He's the guy that started the whole "let's play overseas" trend.

    Williams is one of the stars of the league.  He's one of the top five point guards and if he thinks it'll be better to go elsewhere to play basketball, you can be sure others will follow.

    If Von Wafer or Jared Jeffries were the first ones to declare they were going overseas, nobody would've cared.

    Instead you have a two-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA Second Team, and an Olympic gold medalist in Deron Williams thinking the lockout is bad enough that he should go and play elsewhere.

    Sure, if Williams wasn't the first to declare that he was going to play overseas, it would've been someone else.  However, the fact remains that it was he who first made the decision to play in Turkey leading to at least 100 players either going overseas to play or at least seriously considering it.

    Now that the players know they have options, maybe they wouldn't care as much if the NBA season was shortened.

5. Kobe Bryant

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    If I'm going to blame Deron Williams, I'm going to have to blame Kobe Bryant as well.

    Williams is a star player, but no one will argue that he's not on par with Kobe.

    Kobe is one of the league's superstars.  His name alone sells tickets and he's a marketable asset as well.

    If he leaves as he says he's going to, then other superstars will likely follow.  Depending on where they play, these star players may not be able to comeback this season, if there's a season at all.

    Imagine a league without Kobe, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, or Kevin Durant,  At that point, you might as well cancel the entire season.

    Not having them play in the NBA is like not having Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men. It just doesn't seem right.

4. Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter

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    These guys more or less play the same role in this dispute, so it's kind of hard to separate them.

    Fisher and Hunter are the main guys who speak for the players at the negotiation table.  So far they haven't been able to make a deal which is making them look bad.

    Sure it's admirable that they want a fair deal, but at what cost?

    Look, I believe the players deserve the money.  After all, I'm not paying to watch James Dolan sign ridiculous contracts or Donald Sterling to heckle players.

    At the same time, Fisher and Hunter need to soften their stance and be willing to negotiate with the owners to at least get them to the table.

    Fisher and Hunter are villains only because they couldn't get the deal done and they're going to cut it pretty close.

3. James Dolan and Other Owners

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    The lockout started because the owners claimed they lost millions of dollars over the past several years.

    Reasons for this include the relatively low interest in basketball in the mid-2000s and because players were signed to ridiculous contracts.

    Another reason was nobody could save the owners from their own stupidity.

    Ladies and gentlemen, meet James Dolan, the embodiment of the foolish owner.

    Dolan, along with his bromantic partner Isiah Thomas, signed players to some of the most ludicrous contracts in sports history.

    Jared Jeffries and Jerome James were given contracts for five years and $30 million. Each.

    Then there's the whole Eddy Curry fiasco which should serve as a warning to future GMs about long-term contracts and not-protecting your draft picks.

    Now it isn't fair to single out Dolan, there have been other owners and GMs who've given out questionable contracts as well.  It's just Dolan is the epitome of what's wrong with NBA owners.

2. David Stern

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    Of course the blame has to start at the top.  

    If you're the commissioner of a league with as many problems as this, you've got to take some of the responsibility.

    It also doesn't help when you're blaming one of your league's best players.

    Stern's been threatening cancellation of games, even the season if no deal can be made soon.

    He's also been vilifying the players and trying to make it seem as if the owners are the victims here.  I'm sure there were some owners who lost money, but at the same time, there were owners who more than made up for the losses.

    Look at the Nets and the deal that let Mikhail Prokhorov buy the team.  Stern said that the "previous ownership" of the Nets "lost several million dollars" on that transaction while this article by Malcolm Gladwell of Grantland says otherwise. 

    If you ask me, it's a classic example of the rich trying to get richer.  Sure, the NBA's system is broken but for every idiotic and greedy owner, you have smart and savvy ones out there doing the job right.

    Then there's Stern who's making the mistake of alienating the players, the very people who are responsible for the success of the league.

1. Basketball Related Income (BRI)

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    Yeah, not all villains are people.  M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening could've taught you that.

    The biggest villain of the negotiations thus far is basketball related income, or BRI.  BRI is all the revenue from basketball related events including tickets, TV contracts, concessions, merchandise, parking and stadium ads.

    The owners want more of it while the players don't want to give up more than necessary, which makes sense since the players received 57 percent of it before the previous deal expired and the owners lost money because the players made too much.

    Recently, the owners wanted to do an even 50/50 split with the players while the players have come down to 53 percent.

    Neither side is backing down from their position as of yet.  Both sides want the money and have called each other greedy more than once.

    Basically, when it comes to a bunch of rich guys arguing over something, it should be no surprise that money is the number one reason behind it.

    Come on guys, you all make more than enough money as it is.  Now can't you all just get along and play basketball?