Monday, October 3, 2011

NBA Lockout vs NFL Lockout And Our $100 Tickets

It took over three months, but the NBA Lockout has finally reached the JMR homestead.  Unlike the NFL Lockout which made us reach a fever pitch over the Spring and Summer - even leading this writer to compare the Players and owners to a pair of siblings, the labor problems besieging the NBA went hardly noticed here.  But when C's basketball tryouts, the questions were finally asked. 

"Dad, when can we go to a Celtics' game?"

"Not this year."  I answered matter of factly.  When C looked at me like I was telling another one of my awful jokes, I felt like I had to explain myself.  "The players went on strike and they don't want to play."  Now, despite being a business owner myself, I actually thought it was easier to explain the work stoppage as a strike, rather than a lockout. 

"They don't want to play ever again?  G asked me, as he glanced down at his Rajon Rondo t-shirt.

"Well probably not this year, but maybe next year. Sometimes workers get together and collectively decide that they won't do their work until they get paid more."  I then go on to explain that the same thing happened in the NFL a couple of months ago.  "But you know what?  A lot of players are going to be playing in China and in Europe, so we'll be able to see them play elsewhere."

"You mean we have to go to China?" C asks me, clearly not wanting to go that far to see his beloved Boston Celtics.  And I bet we'll see plenty of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on TV this year - even if it's on Dancing with the Stars or Regis and Kelly.

The issues are simple:  Basketball related income (BRI) for basketball players needs to be reduced from 57% to 46% of total revenues, The current soft salary cap (which basically means that there is no cap) will be turned into a hard salary cap, current salaries need to be reduced in kind by at least 10% and money has to go into escrow to ensure that the BRI remains stable.  There are other stupid issues that are used as bargaining chits for the larger issues.  Age limits, PED testing and extra drafts will be worked out.  I'm not going to bore you with the other details that I've learned about the NBA lockout.  Billy Hunter vs. David Stern, Billionaire owners vs. Millionaire Players.  It's the same refrain.

There are a couple of good things to come out of the Lockout.  Kobe Bryant will likely be out of the States for the year.  We don't have be witness to Chris Bosh's childish behavior.  And best yet, with all of his free time, LeBron James will likely do something really, laughingly stupid - to all of our collective enjoyment. 

But now, I have to yet again explain to my kids the sorry concept that grown men don't want to make money to play games.  The kids don't really care who is right and who is wrong in this labor dispute.  Ultimately, the two sides will agree and the Billionaires will remain Billionaires and the Millionaires will remain Millionaires.  Things will return to the status quo, again. 

And we'll be the ones stuck paying for the $100 tickets, again.

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