With the NFL lockout in full swing, the upcoming possible NBA lockout this summer has almost been forgotten. Sure it’s in the back of some fans’ minds but for the most part, they’re focused on their teams’ playoff seeding and how they’re closing out the regular season.
NBA players are preparing for the worst. Just like many of their Dallas Cowboys counterparts admitted during the NFL season, many Dallas Mavericks players are anticipating it. Mavs guard Jason Terry joked one day during practice this fall that they are all trying to save their money. I’m sure NBA players version of saving is much different from ours. It’s all relative.
The New York Times Sunday magazine examines which league and, subsequently, which commissioner is better suited to handle a lockout. What made me giggle was that the only NBA and NFL owners author Tommy Craggs cited were our very own Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones.
Ponder for a moment that both commissioners are peddling what is essentially an upward redistribution of wealth into the hands of guys like Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban. It’s going to take some real salesmanship to get the public to go for that. So who’s better equipped to do it?
He asserts that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has clumsily dealt with the NFL labor situation. In contrast, Craggs’ appreciation for NBA commissioner David Stern’s handling of the league’s five previous lockouts under Stern’s leadership almost sounds like a man-crush.
Stern is the model commissioner for our times. He has sold lockouts just as ably as he has sold replica jerseys. He has leveraged the right anxieties at the right moments, wringing another set of concessions out of the players and annexing a little more of their autonomy every time. Easy Dave will win his sixth lockout, if it comes to that, and he will win handily, smiling all the while, no matter how nasty and brutish he gets behind closed doors.
|Rockets 94-95 championship ring|
I was a media services intern for the Houston Rockets during the first couple months of the 1995 NBA lockout. It was a somewhat short one, beginning July 1, 1995 and lasting through September 12, 1995. It was a relatively painless affair from my standpoint. I was a lowly intern, so it’s not as if I was affected but my most vivid recollection had to with media requests.
Reporters would call the media services department asking for help setting up interviews with players. Our response was uniform: “we are in a lockout and are not allowed to have contact with players.” Time and again that was my response.
There was one particular dogged tv reporter in Houston who we called Scoop. He broke a ton of stories and still does. He would harass us morning and night trying to get players’ numbers and addresses. He was smart in trying to convince the interns to help him. Unfortunately for him, my boss instilled the fear of God in me and forbid me from doling out any information on any level no matter what was being dangled in front of me.
As a sports anchor in an NBA and NFL town, I am obviously concerned. The lockouts have a direct impact, a negative one, on our jobs. They also affect team employees, sponsors, merchandisers, food suppliers, the list is endless.
Are you concerned at all about the lockouts? Are you dreading the thought of a no NFL/NBA fall? Are you optimistic this will all get worked out before the seasons start or do you just get tired head thinking about it all?