The reactions to the lockout news of the past week have run the gauntlet. No one is happy, and for me, I’m really, really nervous. It’s not that we’re currently in a lockout. It doesn’t burn me up inside that we should have basketball and yet we don’t. I don’t walk around complaining all day, or spit venom at the people I think responsible. I’m more just nervous because players are more aware of what they’re owed than ever before. The owners are still treating them like novices, and it’s becoming increasingly clear the players’ understanding of the business is growing. That could mean a very long standoff.
NYDailyNews.com ran a recent story about the lockout and the difference between the present day and 1999. As former NBA player Greg Anthony told them, “The players are far more sophisticated now than we were. And they’re far better prepared.”
In 1999, some players who were used to living lavishly and bringing along their crew for the ride, soon found that their pockets emptied pretty quickly. But most current players knew about this inevitable lockout as far back as two years ago, and pretty much everyone is ready financially to meet it for the long haul (Despite some of these guys who seem to be clamoring for attention and pity on Twitter.).
“It’s not like the lockout is a surprise to these players,” Anthony told NYDailyNews.com. “The players have been preparing for this for the past few years. Yes, there will be a few who will have issues, but the vast majority will remain focused on the bigger issue.”
So at this point, we have a collection of players who have the resources to fight a long battle. Obviously, they can’t go as long as the owners, but when comparing this to years past, the chance that an entire season – or maybe even more – being lost is infinitely greater. Combine that with self-awareness that has grown across the league in the last few years, and suddenly you have a ton of players who aren’t just willing to play ball for a lot of money, but players who won’t play ball unless they get most of what they’re owed. When you look at the history of the league, at least in the last 20 years, in some instances players never really received their total market value. Now they want most of it and the owners are balking. It’s a bad recipe.
The union says they’ve already lost $175 million. Kobe Bryant alone lost out on a paycheck on Nov. 15 that would’ve been $2.2 million. The owners – and most of us – are banking on the players losing the spirit for the fight once the money stops. I’m nervous it won’t do anything but make them angrier.
Do you think it’s a bad thing that players are more prepared and seem to be more self-aware of their rights/market value now?
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