The Pros and Cons of the NBA Lockout
Tense labor relations have always held a special place in America, from the Pullman Strike of 1894 to the recent Writers Guild strike that cost the American entertainment industry $500 million and Jay Leno the remaining shreds of his humor. But this year's NBA lockout ranks among the more important and entertaining labor wars in U.S. history, pitting millionaires against mega-millionaires in one of the most asinine power struggles since Congress appointed a joint committee to reduce the debt. Now, with the NBPA rejecting David Stern's ultimatum and sending negotiations into a "nuclear winter," the 2011-2012 NBA season is in more danger than an intoxicated Freshman girl in the 3rd floor of SAE. Besides not having to pay $55 for nosebleed seats to watch the Bulls play the Timberwolves in one of the least inspired athletic performances since Shaq in Kazaam, here are the pros and cons of losing this year's entire NBA season to the lockout.
LeBron James Goes Another Season without a Ring With a quarter of the season cancelled so far and the rest of the season in jeopardy, it seems likely that the Whore of Akron will be blue balled for yet another year. Don't get me wrong, the idea of King James barnstorming with All-Stars in high school gymnasiums is an awesome idea. I just hope that the players spring for trained CPR professionals to be on hand for when LeBron chokes in the fourth quarter.
Increased Focus on College Basketball Without pro basketball, we can all devote more attention to the real games. Not that watching the Toronto Raptors play the Oklahoma City Thunder isn't fascinating, but I'd much rather watch student athletes give it their all night after night than watch Blake Griffin dunk on the Trail Blazers. And when it comes to the playoffs, Virginia Commonwealth beating Kansas offers far more suspense and drama than the Celtics beating the Knicks in four straight games.
The Fall of David Stern Who knew that a miniscule white man could be so goddamn overbearing? The same commissioner who instituted a dress code to make players look less "urban" has managed to lose both control over the owners and the trust of the players with his negotiating tactics that make Stalin look like Neville Chamberlain on estrogen. The smugly arrogant man did great things for basketball, but his days seem numbered.
Turkish Basketball With the signing of All-Star Deron Williams, Beşiktaş Milangaz immediately became a Turkish Basketball League powerhouse. With the possible addition of Kevin Love, Carlos Boozer, and Luol Deng, the Fighting Black Eagles have a chance to be the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls of the EuroChallenge. And nothing beats watching 8,000 screaming Turks watching a basketball game.
Increased Focus on Northwestern Basketball More time to devote to college basketball means more time to devote to Northwestern basketball, which means more time to suffer from heartbreaking embarrassment. Seeing as the Wildcats have yet to reach the NCAA Tournament, and hasn't even finished above fourth place in the Big Ten since the Tet Offensive, the odds seem a bit stacked against us. Although it certainly does feel good to dominate the Texas-Pan American Broncos, even an NIT win would feel pretty good.
ESPN Programming Post-Super Bowl ESPN's programming after the Super Bowl and March Madness can get pretty dire before baseball season starts up again even in non-lockout years. But without basketball highlights, SportsCenter won't have anything to discuss besides the top 100 greatest chessboxers of all time, while ESPN broadcasts nothing but Cheese Chasing and arena football at night.
No Derrick Rose Probably one of the most tragic aspects of the lockout is that it prevents us from watching Derrick Rose lead the Bulls with his lightning-quick crossover and fearlessness in the key. The MVP is the pointguard of Thibodeau's dreams, and has been key to the the Bulls' recent success. If I miss out on the opportunity to watch Rose because a lot of rich men want to be richer, I might punch the nearest kitten.
Loss of Greed and Theatricality The NBA has a stunning lack for both, and both the players and the managers have displayed their inordinate desire to get more than they need (or deserve), and to try and look good while they do it. No American sports league has ever had a higher average salary. It's difficult to side with either party while they bicker over how much they should profit from Tomahawk jams and jersey sales, cancelling games and fucking over not just the fans, but every NBA arena employee trying to support their families by selling $9 bottles of Miller Genuine Draft to season ticket holders.