Another day, another lockout. Looks like the only NBA basketball you’ll be seeing this winter will be on NBA 2K12 — the video game — because this season’s hope for hoops feels as empty as the vacant Bradley Center.
In early November, you’re supposed to see fewer headlines about teen pop star Justin Bieber and his love child, and more about opening night in the NBA. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in 2011. The NBA is facing famine this season assisted by its players demanding more money and benefits. You must realize: dining at five-star restaurants, staying in America’s finest hotels, flying first-class and being waited on in each and every city they visit can get overwhelming. This famine was produced through an inability to renew the expired collective bargaining agreement — the NBA players want the revenue-sharing scale to tip in their favor at a hefty 52.5 percent while owners want an even 50 percent cut of revenues. Basically, this is your typical tug-of-war battle for power.
So, who’s right and who’s wrong? It really comes down to who’s doing the talking. While the owners will whine if they lose a penny of their investment, the players demand maximum benefits on nearly every issue because they act as a collective union and figure their lifestyle and family’s well-being ride on a career that could end tomorrow. The friction between the owners and players is about as squeaky as the courts that haven’t been touched in six months — so don’t expect any games next week. Namely, even if they reach a solution, it’ll take weeks to get the league back up and running. It sure is looking like the 2011-’12 NBA campaign is going to be a big air ball. Just like Miami Heat’s NBA Finals run.
So, where does that leave us loyal fans? Newsflash to the players and owners — it’s the fans who truly invest in the NBA and generate those “revenues” that players and owners are bickering over. It’s the fans who watch and attend games solely for the love of it. Ultimately, without fans, there is no NBA. It’s reassuring to know that the owners — primarily comprised of America’s wealthiest folks and players — are going to use this time to try to come to an agreement. But we, the fans, are the real ones suffering the consequences. It’ll be quite tough to “Fear the Deer” if there are no Bucks playing in the Bradley Center. The lockout has already cancelled the first two weeks of games and even basketball gamblers would confirm it’s a safe bet that there will be no league until February, at the earliest.
Marquette students have already turned their focus to full-fledged college basketball mode. “Who needs the NBA when you’ve got NCAA?” said Lexi Bueno, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences. Others, like Mathew Otto, a junior in the College of Science, said it’s a juvenile scenario in the public spotlight. “The owners put themselves in this situation with ridiculous contracts and players are treating it like a standoff at recess.” Otto also said that he’ll immerse himself in the NFL “to distract myself from the loss of the sad dispute that the NBA has become.” Meanwhile, Brian DeCant, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said that “the WNBA will have plenty of business in 2012.”
It’s time to accept the fact you won’t be watching too many, if any, NBA games this season, so perhaps consider investing more time in the pre-ranked number 22 Marquette team, the undefeated Green Bay Packers or following the wacky paths that the NBA stars are taking. Remember Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes in “Space Jam?” Sure you do, so why not begin writing the script for “Space Jam 2,” considering the entire league is on a big recess.
Or, perhaps you could begin religiously following the competitive eating leagues? Defending champion Joey Chestnut is on the verge of stardom. Last but not least, you could draw up a NCAA-style marriage bracket between NBA-nobody Chris Humphries and camera-hungry Kim Kardashian as they rebound from their “marriage.” Simply take a 64-team bracket and predict who will date who next!
As D-Wade symbolically tweeted on the first official day of the lockout, “Anyone hiring?” While some NBA employees are using the time to visit their alma maters or take an extended vacation, others have been pursuing lifelong dreams like Boston Celtic Delonte West. West applied for a job at Home Depot, but ended up settling for a job at a Regency Furniture Showcase. Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony played roles alongside New York City’s most elite fictional squad known as the Special Victims Unit in an episode of “Law & Order SVU.” Speaking of “Law and Order,” the NBA’s most volatile star, Ron Artest, opted to take his talents to “Dancing with the Stars,” though he didn’t remain there long as he was booted off the show in a first round upset.
In the midst of these lockout blues, players and businessmen have finally capitalized on the idled NBA and created pickup games and tours to keep players busy, bring in fans and maybe even bring in a dollar or two… million. Not to mention, the NBA lockout has even had a direct effect on Marquette University. Marquette brought back a star-studded Golden Eagles cast from the last decade in the form of Dwyane Wade, Wesley Matthews, Lazar Heyward, Jimmy Butler and Steve Novak all thanks to the current strike brought to you by the NBA Player’s Union and owners.
On the plus side, if you play fantasy basketball, your NBA Fantasy team is guaranteed a first place tie for a while now…