NBA Lockout

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Sports and Holidays: Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving has come and gone with some great games. We have had seen truly exceptional performances and then some exceptional things in a bad way as well. With all that being said, no one says we have to stop saying thanks when Thanksgiving Day is over. We are going to give thanks to some teams and players, not only in the NFL but in a number of sports. Let the celebration begin:

We first have to give thanks to the NBA players and owner for tentatively getting a deal done. Barring some catastrophic set back it looks like we will finally have some NBA basketball. The agreement states there will be a 66 game season that will start December 25, 2011, with training camps opening December 9th. The deal also included a 50/50 split for revenue between the players and owners. The most important part is that the negotiation is done and it will be a few years before we have to deal with this type of situation again.

Next we have to thank college football coach Urban Meyer for proving that money talks. Meyer was adamant that he was done with college football when he retired in 2010. Urban Meyer said he needed to spend time with his family and concentrate on his health. Meyer even denied reports that a college had contacted him for a coaching position. All that changed when Ohio State did actually come calling and offered Urban Meyer a six year deal which is worth an average of 4 million per year. Urban Meyer says he loves college football, but he could have sat on the couch, loved college football, and enjoyed time with his family. Instead we see how enough money can motivate anyone to change their tune.

In the NFL, we have a couple of players to thank for tasteless displays this week. First we have Ndamukong Suh, who decided it would be a good idea to step on an opposing team’s offensive lineman. The play was over; there was really no good reason for Suh to do anything. However, Ndamukong Suh decided to step on Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Deitrich-Smith during Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day game. The League has not officially issued any punishment for Suh, but we can rest assured some form of punishment is coming. Even a first time offender would feel the hammer of justice from Commissioner Roger Goodell come down upon them. Suh is far from a first time offender. Expect to not see the Detroit Lion’s defensive leader for a few games.

Speaking of repeat offenders, we have another individual who decided to do something that should have never been done. Stevie Johnson, the receiver from the Buffalo Bills, decided to make fun of Plaxico Buress and the Jets in a touchdown celebration. Johnson scored a touchdown catch, then preceeded to dance, and act like he shot himself in the foot, mocking Plaxico Buress. Plaxico Buress went to jail for two years for doing such an incident in real life. This should not be an event that anyone would want to make fun of. Moreover, after making fun of Plaxico Buress’s situation, Stevie Johnson then decided to act like a jet plane was crashing, making fun of the New York Jets further. Johnson should get a heavy fine for something so offensive and directed at another player. To top it all off, the Buffalo Bills lost the game and Stevie Johnson dropped quite a few passes that would of helped the team win. Johnson does not seem much like team player to me, but more like one who only cares about himself.

The season of giving thanks never truly comes to an end when we are dealing with sports. Something is always happening, whether good or bad, that we can say thank you about. Whether it is something as bad as Jerome Simpson’s flop, or something amazing like watching Drew Brees put 350 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, one rushing touch down, and no interceptions in a Monday night game. The ups and downs each week is what makes watching sports a good time. We love our sports and are thankful for every team, every play, and every game.


The NBA Lockout: The Continuation

The NBA lockout is still in effect and everyone is wondering when the lockout will end. There does not seem to be an agreement likely to happen between the NBA players and owners in the near future. We could be looking at the cancellation of full 2011-12 NBA season. From all reports the players and the owners are in disagreement of a 2 percent difference. The players want a 52/48 percent split in their favor and the owners want a 50/50 percent split. The players will not budge their position on the two percent difference and neither will the owners.

In the whole scheme of things two percent seems like such a small percentage to disagree over. However, in this case two percent is meaning millions of dollars. I can understand how either side feels. The players are the ones that the fans come to see so they feel they are entitled to more. The owners feel like they are taking all the risk and think giving the players over fifty percent is not fair to them.

Of course, the percentage of players this new agreement will affect is pretty small. The player making the NBA league minimum to play each game is never going to see a majority of the money anyways. The main players seeing most of the money are the starters and the star players of each NBA team. In addition, these are the same players that can afford to sit out a whole season and still afford their lifestyle. The average NBA player does not have the same luxury. A loss of a whole NBA season would financially devastate some NBA players. A great deal of NBA players need every paycheck they receive from each game they play.

The answer seems simple but I am sure all the supposed red tape makes it very complicated. The solution I would propose would either be to compromise which means settle for 51/49 percent split in favor of the players. However, the more likely end result of all the negotiations will probably end in the 50/50 split the owners have been proposing for months. The fact is when anyone tries to challenge the person who writes their check, the result is usually they lose the battle. The NFL negotiations ended this way, as the owners won and the players ultimately had to sign a deal they did not favor in the end.

The NBA players seem to be more stubborn than the NFL players though and the opportunity for an NBA season is looking bleak. A year without NBA is coming at the wrong time for the league. The NBA had just experienced a significant boost in television ratings and now that boost is diminished or eliminated altogether. If the NBA players and owners are not able to reach an agreement this year I am not sure how the NBA will fare in the future.

The fans want basketball to return and are waiting for the doors to the arena to open. Businesses that depend on basketball fans for income may have to close their doors and lay off employees. Television networks that show the NBA games are poised to lose billions with no NBA games being played on their networks. Even the NBA rookies, especially the ones who left college early to take part in the NBA draft are affected. The NBA rookies might have to sit a whole year out before ever being able to take the floor.  Unfortunately, no one knows the day and time when we will be able to cheer, have some popcorn, grab a cold drink, and watch our favorite team attempt to claim a victory. We can only hope that it is soon, but greed makes many people stubborn in what they want. We can only hope that the NBA players and owners decide to put greed aside and do what is best for the majority. I am not holding my breath for that scenario but stranger things have happened.

The Impact of the NBA Lockout

Yesterday was a sad day for two reasons. Steve Jobs the owner of Apple, died today after his fight for cancer, a truly sad event. I look at my I-Phone and just marvel at how much Steve Jobs influenced society and how far we have come in innovation.  In addition, another troubling event continues as we still have no answer to whether we will have an NBA season. The NBA lockout is still in effect and no one knows when it will end.

From all reports an agreement between both the NBA Owners and Players is not even close to being reached. This means that regular season games are going to start being cancelled soon and the complete cancellation of the NBA season is a possibility. NBA fans can only hope that before a full NBA season is cancelled, the NBA will decide to shorten their season. While that would be a small constellation prize, even that option is looking more and more unlikely as negotiations continue.The pre-season is already cancelled and more cancellations are sure to come the longer the negotiation takes.

The NBA Lockout comes at a horrible time as NBA television ratings are at an all time high after the way last season ended. The Miami Heat, the favorites to win it all, against the upstart Dallas Mavericks went at it in a knockdown drag-out fight to the finish. The Mavericks came out victorious and proved they were the best team of 2011. I am ready to see which team has similar drive, passion, and grit.  

In a perfect world, the NBA season would be ready to get under way and NBA fans would be ready to watch some great basketball games. Unfortunately, every NBA fan is left wondering when their favorite team will take the court. The majority of the NBA players are planning to play basketball professionally overseas while the lockout is in effect. The list includes Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, and Tony Parker, just to name a few.

I just do not understand how major sports organizations ever reach the point where they do not have a plan for an agreement. I know that sometimes a good plan falls apart. However, this is two major sports organizations in the same year dealing with the same problem, if we include the NFL. One would think that the NBA would learn from the mistakes of the NFL’s negotiation and take some precautions to prevent a similar situation from occurring.

We may not see a single NBA player take the court this year because the NBA season has a good chance of being cancelled. I know I am not the only one who wants to see if the Miami Heat can win the whole thing in their second year. Moreover, I want to see if the Dallas Mavericks can repeat or do the Los Angeles Lakers recover from all the team drama of last season. I am ready for some blockbuster trades that will shake up the East and the West NBA conferences. Unfortunately, we will get to see none of these events if the NBA Team Owners and NBA Players cannot reach an agreement.

This is a sad day indeed for all basketball fans. The only thing that every fan can take comfort in is that college sports do not have the same issues. College basketball will still be as exciting as ever and it is looking like March Madness may be bigger than life this year. I will probably be able to get my bracket done much earlier this year. I would rather not be in that situation. We are pleading, “Come on NBA Players and NBA Owners, we have faith in you!” Get the deal done so we can see some great basketball.

Money Problems

Can we get it together? My patience is wearing thin. I need the owners and players of the professional sports teams to step up. How in the world do we end up with the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of the iconic baseball team facing bankruptcy? Moreover, we have two lockouts in two major professional sports leagues, the NBA and the NFL. I now truly understand what the phrase means that says, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” The reason for the lockouts and Los Angeles Dodgers situation is all due to money issues. In the case of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the money issue is due to mismanaging team spending for years. Recently, the Dodgers were even having trouble meeting the team payroll. Someone in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization should have seen this situation coming and taken some proper precautions. Now it may be too late for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Los Angeles Dodgers are in such dire straits that the Major League Baseball Association is having a hard time bailing them out.

The NBA and the NFL lockouts are due to players and owners not being able to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. The players want an increase in the salary they receive. The owners do not want to increase the amount of money the players receive.  The owner’s justify their position declaring they need the additional funds to run each organization.  The players believe that the owners do not need as much money to run each organization effectively. The two sides in either league cannot seem to reach an agreement. The power struggle negotiation has begun in both the NBA and the NFL. Neither the players nor the owners want to be the one who makes a compromise. Both sides want only an agreement where their side has the advantage. While the NFL is much further along in the negotiation than the NBA, neither league is close to reaching a beneficial agreement for players and owners.

This means we as a nation could go without a NFL or NBA season next year. The thought of going a whole year without seeing Kobe Bryant battle Lebron James in the NBA playoffs would make my heart sink. Similarly, not being able to see Aaron Rodgers and the Packers attempt to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, would be just as disappointing. In the end, one side is going to lose and one will win. The bad part is not what happens in relations to the players or owners. The truly bad part is that fans have to suffer through the whole process and cannot even go out with friends to enjoy watching their favorite pastime.

NBA Off-Season 2012, Let’s get it started!

The NBA season is officially over, the playoffs were great, and Lebron James has officially apologized for saying he is better than everyone else because he makes millions of dollars.  I am still debating how sincere the apology was. James has taken arrogance and pride to a new level.Enough about Mr. James though it is time to think about next most important subject the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement. We have seen the havoc the NFL is going through right now because the players and owners have failed to reach a new agreement in a timely manner. Now the NBA is about to be in the same situation. This means we could have a NBA lockout next year similar to the NFL has this year.

A NBA lockout would be horrible for the sport at this time because this year more people watched the playoffs than previous years. Fan interest has finally started to rise again as the playoffs had a great deal of surprises and less predictability.  If a lockout does indeed happen, then the NBA season will be in jeopardy. However, we are hoping that the NBA has learned from the NFL mistakes in drawing up a new CBA and we will have an NBA season to remember.

Here are a few reasons that next NBA season could be one of the best yet. Next year is supposed to be another big free agency year as two major stars of the league can pick new teams if they choose. Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are both free agents in 2012. I am predicting that both stars will leave their current teams for greener pastures.  Many teams could use the services of both players. My favorite team for Chris Paul would be the New York Knicks.  Paul along with Carmello Anthony and Amare Stoudemire would make another powerhouse in the East. The actual possibility of Paul, Anthony, and Stoudemire playing together against the Miami Heat “Big Three” would be a showtime experience every time. The most logical place for Dwight Howard would be the Lakers, seeing as the team has lost its chemistry and coach. Howard could bring a new cohesiveness to the Lakers. Dwight Howard could help build his own legacy along with Kobe Bryant extending his own. The Lakers will always do what it takes to win and a trade for Howard would give them the greatest chance to do just that.

As much as I like the makeup of the Dallas Mavericks, the team will not repeat. Too many things have to fall in place at the right time for them to accomplish that goal. The Mavericks will be very competitive though and we will see them in the playoffs again next year. The Miami Heat will be in year two of their plan to bring a championship to South Florida. Miami will make some much-needed moves to improve their team but they will not find the road easy.  As teams make free agency moves, the Heat will find that it will only be harder to repeat their success of 2011.  Anyone who thought the drama and excitement of the NBA had reached its peak this year is very wrong.  We have just begun to see what the NBA has missing for a long time. NBA teams are building true powerhouse teams, reminiscent of the 80’s and 90’s.  Real competitive NBA playoff games are returning and fans will love every minute of it.


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