Lockout thoughts, randomly, and links, etc…
Fix This Mess.
[Southeast-Southwest Freeway - 12th & K St. SE - Washington, D.C. - photo: K. Weidie]
Whomever put the debate over Basketball Related Income (“BRI”) at the forefront of the NBA Lockout argument between players and owners knew what they were doing, assuming they were working in favor of the owners. At least this is in terms of public perception, but does either side care about the public anyway? No, not really, it seems.
Fifty-fifty is what we’ve been taught is fair; “even-steven” is intrinsically connected to our humanity. Disregard concerns otherwise when it comes to the lockout, the focus has been how to split the BRI between owners and players. Under the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”), the players received 57-percent of all NBA BRI, and for the purposes of new CBA negotiations, players have indicated that they are willing to reduce their BRI to 53-percent and have stuck staunchly to that (although recent reports indicate the players might lower their demands to 52-percent).
But players make the league, don’t they? They deserve more than half the BRI share. Yes, but who cares? I know I certainly don’t. I like to see teams, run by owners, with the best ones able to succeed, even in the previous purportedly broken system, with excellent organization and a watchful eye toward spending. The San Antonio Spurs, ladies and gentlemen.
As a fan, even though I hate to admit it, I’m willing to forgo Larry Bird rights and Franchise Tags and accept the resulting increased free-agency (which would benefit the players), if it means owners are prevented from taking what Ted Leonsis termed “stupid pills” (meaning: their ability to give out absurdly binding contracts, in favor of the players, which come under the heat of scarce resources and the pressure of competing against consolidated competition), and if it means big markets are penalized by free-spending without proper monetary competitive balance with the rest of the members of the NBA partnership.
Lots to digest, as other important concerns surrounding the current negotiations have been ignored in this parsed-down argument. But the BRI split is what sticks in the minds of the general public that the league craves for relevancy, and the players have looked foolish for drawing the line in the sand at 53-percent. Sure, it used to be 57-percent. Sure, the players are not “striking” for more money, “It’s a LOCKOUT!!” being the programmed message coming from their lips. Nobody cares.
Players, you try organizing stadiums, ticket sales, marketing, merchandising, and investment in the game’s future. That’s what basketball owners do, collectively under the leadership of a global-thinking commissioner. The idea of players organizing a successful league, via Amar’e Stoudemire, is an absolute joke. Vince McMahon would have better luck with that endeavor.
Sure, players, you promote the game as well through charity efforts (either forced, incentive-based, or genuine), and also by showing your faces, getting people to buy your jerseys, shoes, etc. But don’t make the plight about the stadium workers when you don’t cut their checks. You don’t run the business. You play basketball.
Problem is, many owners can be S.O.B.s too – Dan Gilbert, money off predatory loans and giant wall stickers; Donald Sterling, slum lord; Jerry Buss, practical pedophile; James Dolan, one-time employer of Isiah Thomas; Maloof Bros, casinos … need I say more? Hardly a group that should gain our sympathy over the players. Not to say some owners aren’t “good,” and not to excuse them for being no different from how other corporations conduct themselves (poorly) in America. There should be a place for them to assume greater accountability in their respective communities… I’m just not sure where that aspect fits into CBA discussions, unfortunately.
Bottom line: Fifty-percent is fair, as we know it. And when the argument is surrounded by an uneven split — again, “uneven” in the mind of the public — the players look silly, even if they are fighting against a decrease in the overall salary pool. Take 50-percent and make the argument about something else, players — and win that argument. Otherwise, you are only hurting yourselves by losing the media public perception war over a BRI split. After all, it’s your names on the backs of jerseys, not the owners.
I was quoted in a Washington Times story last week about reactions to the NBA lockout – ‘NBA lockout? Wake us when it’s over,’ written by Patrick Hruby. You know who else was quoted? Former Bullets “SuperFan” Robin Ficker… never would’ve thought that he and I would be quoted in the same story. Check it out.
So JaVale McGee’s return to the Philippines involves him doing a “big man skills development clinic”with former NBAer Alton Lister and Baltimore’s Norman Black, brief NBA player and long-time stalwart in the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association). McGee is also cited as starting the “planking craze” in the Philippines. Of course.
Craig Stouffer catches up with Othyus Jeffers. He tore his ACL working out in July and is using this extra lockout time to fully rehab. You can also find Jeffers on Twitter: @OthyusTheGreat
The 12 dumbest decisions in the NBA in the last 12 seasons since the last lockout — a good look-back here; Gilbert Arenas’ gun incident doesn’t make the cut. Perhaps it would have been No. 13.
George Will on the NBA lockout:
“Labor-management disputes test the two sides’ animal spirits and pain thresholds. The former favor the players, who — owners frequently forget this — have climbed to the narrow peak of their profession’s pyramid because they are ferocious competitors who loathe losing at anything. Owners, however, have higher pain thresholds because they have longer time horizons: They do not have short careers; they do have deep pockets.”
Surprised? Kevin Garnett being the same jerk he can be on the court in NBA lockout negotiations. Helpful.
Another one of those exhibition games occurred this past weekend, in D.C., between Washington and Philly. I probably should’ve gone, but I’d rather see real, meaningful basketball. Nonetheless, pictures and a writeup via Colin Murphy.
[Severna Part Voice]
“Unfortunately with JaVale, he may have done more damage to himself than he did to the process. Guys are strident, and we are together.”
-Mo Evans, via the Washington Times
“I tell people, listen, this is big business, but it’s none of our business. This is a labor negotiation between very wealthy people. And the people who make their living from the NBA or the fans who watch the NBA, we have to do something else until they play again. And we will. Everybody will.”
-Steve Buckhantz, Wizards T.V. play-by-play guy, via the DC Sports Bog
“If you start to fold, it’s going to hurt us. That’s what they want us to do. They want us to fold. If you’re going to take 50-50, take it now. Don’t lose two games, two weeks and don’t lose no money, if you’re going to fold in a week or two.”
-John Wall on the lockout, via the Washington Post
“It’s not too bad. Aint no practice, so I work out in the morning and I’ve got the rest of the day to myself. It’s just video games and homework.”
-John Wall on going back to Kentucky to pursue a college degree during the lockout, via Wizards Insider
Sure, fans and players alike have found quick boredom in summertime exhibition games. One of the better atmospheres, I’m hearing (I didn’t attend), was the game which took place at Morgan State University featuring the Goodman League Stars versus the Melo League Stars. The below video from that game comes courtesy of Shalope Oriola, a student at Morgan State, & Co.
Adidas stands to be short of $50 million in sales because of the lockout, especially if basketball misses the holiday season. But hey, at least they saved some money by voiding Gilbert Arenas’ contract with them. Of course, it’s hard to tell how much Arenas’ gun hi-jinks cost the shoe company in the first place.
[Eye On Basketball]
Dennis Rodman kinda/sorta had some intelligent things to say about the lockout, at least for him.
Adam Morrison dropped 30 points for his European team, Red Star Belgrade… maybe he’s just an American better suited for the Euro game. Here’s video:
[via The Basketball Jones]
File Under: Good Lord – Gilbert Arenas, DeShawn Stevenson, Groupies, Sex, Wizards Locker Room, Lady Front Neck Tattoos to Match Stevenson Back Tattoos, etc., etc. — I probably shouldn’t be linking this, you probably shouldn’t be reading, but hey, it’s the Internet.
[The Score, Bossip]
If anyone noticed…
Those Heineken commercials – the ones that are like mini-musicals — have impressed me lately with their creativity and energy. Not like I drink a ton of Heineken anymore (went on a kick near the end of college and post), but if it’s all that’s around a Bud Lite, Miller Lite, Coors, or whatever other generic, water-tasting beer, I’m likely not going domestic and am likely going to choose Heineken. Maybe it continues because of the commercials, like this one…