NBA lockout could be a nightmare for rookies, TV ratings
Published: Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 15:06
A lifelong dream will be coming true for many college and international players, as many of them will get to shake NBA commissioner David Stern's hand as their names are called in Thursday's NBA Draft.
No matter your feelings on the depth of this year's draft class, it is still an exciting event coming on the heels of one of the most highly-rated seasons in the league's history.
Call it the Year of LeBron, the Year of the Heat, the Year of Dirk — it really doesn't matter what you call it. What matters is, the NBA just enjoyed a great year with high television ratings and lots of casual observers following the drama that was this past season.
Whether you loved or loathed it, the coverage of the Heat this season was a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.
But all the momentum created last season and carrying over into tonight's draft could be lost in a moment.
All it takes is a lockout.
The league has a lot of good mojo going for it right now. There is a clear-cut villain in the Miami Heat, there are rising stars like Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose and there's another free-agent saga about to unfold right here in Orlando with Dwight Howard and the Magic.
There are a lot of reasons to be interested in basketball right now.
And there's one reason a lot of people may look past all that: if games are missed because of millionaires not being able to get along with billionaires.
Now, the NBA schedule is too long anyway, but that's irrelevant with regards to next season. If there is a lockout-shortened season, or even worse, no season, fans will not be happy, and many will be turned off to the game.
Basically, shortening the season to create a better product is one thing, however unlikely that is. Shortening it because of disagreement over a hard salary cap is another.
Make no mistake about it, folks, the NBA is not the NFL.
Football is king, and despite its own lockout silliness, the NFL will likely rebound and be fine, mostly because people crave their football. They crave their fantasy football. I mean, I love basketball, but I don't even play fantasy basketball.
Despite all its good mojo right now, the NBA is still a league that has to fight the view that it's made up of spoiled, overpaid, prima donnas. A lockout, no matter the merits or the issues it is over, will do nothing but resonate with those who already believe this, and encourage more to take this attitude.
The irony is that this is all just business. The players and the owners are looking to make a new business deal. At the end of the day, it's that simple. Because hopefully everyone — player, coach and executive alike — can recognize that a lockout and shortened season is just bad business.
Because all the draftees tonight deserve to walk into a league that makes good business decisions.