The NBA is locked out, but does anyone really care?
Throughout the summer, the burning question was: will we miss NFL games? This question engulfed the football community as teams missed training camps, recent draft picks had to take part-time jobs to cover themselves until they started being paid and the overpaid players continued fighting with the overly wealthy owners.
This mattered to fans, so they dealt with it. But where does this leave the NBA?
Every day there seem to be reports that “a deal is imminent,” and then seemingly every day Derek Fisher steps up to the podium and says “Sorry guys, the owners are cheap, they might even be racist, we’re gonna keep this going.“
As I’m working at the Hartford Courant sports desk late at night, aggregating the day’s local college and high school results, I am constantly fielding calls from those who trust the friendly local reporter more than a Google search. We have our regulars, those I know by voice, name and general questioning.
One caller, whose name I will withhold, is blind and has an undying love for the NHL. Every night he calls in and asks me who scored the goal in the Philadelphia Flyers game, how many on the season, oh, and how about the New York Rangers, oh, before I forget when do the Flyers play the Boston Bruins... the list goes on.
His last question: “Any NBA lockout news?”
At this question I pause, type "NBA lockout" into the Google news search and read him the top headlines—all the while thinking to myself, this is the one man I know who really cares.
It was terribly dejecting to tell this man they’d miss more games. When the two sides were seemingly in agreement, he called asking when they would start playing. I had to tell him, “Sorry, the talks fell apart, and they canceled even more games.”
As apathetic as I am about overpaid thugs throwing a ball in a hoop, some people out there care. Some live and die with every point. And some just want to hear good news.
College basketball is enough for me. UConn basketball is by far my favorite sports team. But it’s not about me, the players, owners or even the money—at least, it shouldn’t be.
Sports are for fans. Without them, these players would be shooting hoops in their free time after work or between classes, not in prime time on nationally-syndicated broadcasts.
That always seems to be the first thing forgotten in these labor disputes. Percentage points and dollar signs fly from wall to wall, and the fan who wants to hear good news—that his favorite player had a double-double, that his team won three in a row—is all but forgotten.
That man is stuck with the question: “Any NBA lockout updates?”
Money is a terrible thing.