Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

The NBA Lockout: "the rich got richer, the players got played and the fans didn't get a damn thing"

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU
Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:07 PM
Original message
The NBA Lockout: "the rich got richer, the players got played and the fans didn't get a damn thing"

NBA Lockout Ends and Players Get Played
By Dave Zirin
November 28, 2011

There were those bitter adversaries, NBA Commissioner David Stern and National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter, grinning ear-to-ear, discarding their suit jackets and wearing bunchy, seasonal sweaters from the Heathcliff Huxtable collection. Stern was smiling so wide, it appeared that if you poked his middle, hed giggle like he was Poppin Fresh. Hunter, no doubt feeling relieved that he at least fought off a hard cap and other demands from ownership, was clearly in the holiday spirit as well. Only NBPA President and LA Lakers Co-captain Derek Fisher, wearing a suit, not a sweater, his eyes bleary from the marathon bargaining session, resembled someone whod just endured one of the more bitter sports/labor negotiations in history. He looked like hed just emerged from a Turkish prison.

Judging by facial expressions alone, Im going to stand with Fisher on this one. Forget the cuddly sweaters. Ignore President Obamas personal good deal thumbs up. Disregard the avalanche of tweets from your favorite star player about how excited they are to get back to work. The players were dunked on and Stern is wagging his tongue while hanging from the rim. If you ignore the bells and whistles and wipe away the confetti, we have what at the bottom line is a massive transfer of wealth from players to owners: $3 billion over the next decade, to be more precise. Three billion dollars extracted from those we pay to see, to those who have spent the last twenty years treating fans and taxpayers like the cowering abused partners we are.

This deal is just all so very preOccupy Wall Street. I wish more players had spoken out and not let David Sterns PR machine define them as greedy millionaires, insensitive to the publics suffering in these hard economic times. I wish more had directly raised the issues of Occupy Wall Street, like eleven-year veteran Etan Thomas, who wrote, While the issues raised by the Wall Street occupiers differ from the issues of this lockout, arent there obvious parallels in power imbalance? Who is in the same position of power as the 1%? Who wants a bailout for their own mismanagement decisions? Who is more closely aligned with the corporate interests from which the Wall Street occupiers are looking to reclaim the country?

I wish they had taken their fight out of the boardroom and into the public sphere. Make no mistake, Im an NBA junkie and Im thrilled to be watching ball sooner rather than later. But with every game of this warped, bastardized sixty-six-game season, Ill remember that we had a lockout where the rich got richer, the players got played and the fans didnt get a damn thing.

Read the full article at:


NBA Labor Negotiations
By Etan Thomas
Etan Thomas is an 11-year NBA veteran and, as the executive first vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, is an active member of the players' negotiating team.
Special to
November 12, 2011

If Occupy the NBA were to happen, would the occupiers see the NBA CEOs as the 1 percent who want to impose their corporate greed, power and will on their employees? While the issues raised by the Wall Street occupiers differ from the issues of this lockout, aren't there obvious parallels in power imbalance?

During the lockout of 1998, Michael Jordan famously said to Wizards CEO Abe Pollin "If you can't make a profit, you should sell your team." That was then and this is now. Why do people have difficulty understanding that he is no longer a player but currently joined at the hip with the rest of the CEOs of the NBA, who -- like Bank of America, Wall Street and the rest of the 1 percent -- not only want but expect a bailout for their own actions?

During the NFL's lockout, Troy Polamalu said, "I think what the players are fighting for is something bigger. A lot of people think it's millionaires versus billionaires and that's the huge argument. The fact is, it's people fighting against big business. The big business argument is, 'I got the money and I got the power, therefore, I can tell you what to do.' That's life everywhere. Isn't it interesting how the common theme here is power and greed?

If your boss came to you and said, "Listen, I know we are coming off of record overall profits as far as overall revenue and the most lucrative year in history but we have made some individual decisions that we are not happy with and we need you to take massive pay cuts. We need you to agree to construct the rules so that we can no longer make those mistakes, and we want you to make it easier for us to get rid of you if we choose." What would your reaction be? Would you say "Some money is better than no money," or would you gather the rest of your fellow employees and stand up for yourselves?


Read the full article at:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. the fans got the chance to do something meaningful for society like volunteer or pay more attention
to their kids and spouses. not to mention drinking way less alcohol lol
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
The Gunslinger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:19 PM
Response to Original message
2. the last I checked the players are the rich as well.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Well, that's reason enough they should be shafted
Remember, the players were perfectly willing to work under the terms of the contract they had negotiated with the owners just a couple of years ago. It was the owners who said "We're making a buttload of money off the players' efforts, but we need to make a shitload of money. You players should take it in the shorts so we can avoid the natural and normal consequences of our own bad business decisions. After all, we got skunked at the last negotiations, and who can afford high-priced attorneys and negotiators?" Those unfortunate owners!

Yeah. Right.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
WildNovember Donating Member (726 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:42 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. Nowhere near as rich as the owners. The players are workers, rich or not.
Edited on Tue Nov-29-11 11:43 PM by WildNovember
And the lower-string players aren't even rich.

Plus, their playing life is short. That's one of the reasons their pay is high. That, and the sport makes a shitload of money. Why should they get the shaft?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:47 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. Some of the players are rich.
As in any professional sport, most of the players play only a few years, for league minimum or something within shouting distance of it. Many of them eke out a few more years in the development league or playing overseas, but that's barely even making a living in a lot of cases.

At least they're less likely to wind up with the debilitating effects former football players face. Bad knees and ankles beat the hell out of scrambled brains.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:56 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. Do you think the pay of all entertainers should be cut while industry CEO's make higher profits?

Remember, professional sports is part of the multi-billion dollar entertainment industry just like singers, TV celebrities, actors, etc.,
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
exboyfil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:19 PM
Response to Original message
3. I think reality set in
I saw a poll at a major sports website that showed over 2/3s of the voters did not care whether the season happened or not. I don't think the fan base for basketball is nearly as strong as for football for example.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
ellisonz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:30 PM
Response to Original message
5. Should have taken the deal in the first place...
Edited on Tue Nov-29-11 11:31 PM by ellisonz

And I add: If Etan Thomas wants to fight for something - there's a lot of cold,hungry children in America.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:51 PM
Response to Original message
8. on the media: The Trouble with NBA Lockout Coverage

NPR's On The Media had this on the lockout coverage...
The negotiations between NBA players and NBA owners broke down this week - pushing the league to the precipice of missing an entire season of games. What started as a sports story has become a complicated labor story. Brooke talks with NPR sports reporter Mike Pesca about the difficulties the lockout poses for sports reporter who know a lot about how to cover a game but less about protracted labor negotiations.


Lets take an example. When he (David Stern) says, We're now in our nuclear winter

- a good quote. But if a similar quote, an Armageddon-like quote were given by the president of UPS when they were negotiating with the Teamsters, it would have been taken with more of a grain of salt than that quote was taken by the NBA writers, or at least the people who decide how much play to give the NBA story.

Ill give you another example. There was a story a few weeks ago about the discontent among owners, and it portrayed David Stern as trying to hold together a coalition of owners, and this latest offer might eventually evaporate.

All that could be true, but in the reporting I didn't see it sufficiently noted. It's all in the NBA owners' interest to tell the public and the players - sort of the good cop, bad cop - watch out, my partner there is crazy. Who knows what he's gonna do. You better take the offer while we can... /
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
MinM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 12:41 AM
Response to Original message
10. Malcolm Gladwell: owner uses the Nets as leverage in eminent domain case

Malcolm Gladwell had a couple of excellent pieces exposing the VooDoo Economics of the NBA.
'Psychic Benefits' and the NBA Lockout

The author of The Tipping Point explains why owning a basketball franchise has always been a bad business and ought to stay that way

By Malcolm GladwellPOSTED AUGUST 18, 2011

Pro sports teams are a lot like works of art. Forbes magazine annually estimates the value of every professional franchise, based on standard financial metrics like operating expenses, ticket sales, revenue, and physical assets like stadiums. When sports teams change hands, however, the actual sales price is invariably higher. Forbes valued the Detroit Pistons at $360 million. They just sold for $420 million. Forbes valued the Wizards at $322 million. They just sold for $551 million. Forbes said that the Warriors were worth $363 million. They just sold for $450 million. There are a number of reasons why the Forbes number is consistently too low. The simplest is that Forbes is evaluating franchises strictly as businesses. But they are being bought by people who care passionately about sports and the $90 million premium that the Warriors' new owners were willing to pay represents the psychic benefit of owning a sports team. If that seems like a lot, it shouldn't. There aren't many NBA franchises out there, and they are very beautiful.

The big difference between art and sports, of course, is that art collectors are honest about psychic benefits. They do not wake up one day, pretend that looking at a Van Gogh leaves them cold, and demand a $27 million refund from their art dealer. But that is exactly what the NBA owners are doing. They are indulging in the fantasy that what they run are ordinary businesses when they never were. And they are asking us to believe that these "businesses" lose money. But of course an owner is only losing money if he values the psychic benefits of owning an NBA franchise at zero and if you value psychic benefits at zero, then you shouldn't own an NBA franchise in the first place. You should sell your "business" at what is sure to be a healthy premium to someone who actually likes basketball.

Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and most recently, What the Dog Saw. He is a consulting editor for Grantland; this is his first piece for the site.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Wed Aug 16th 2017, 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]

Home » Discuss » General Discussion Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC