This is usually one of the best times of the year to be a sports fan; as sports fans have a wide array choices to enjoy. We are in the midst of the World Series in baseball, both the NFL and college football seasons are in high gear and the NHL regular season has gotten underway. NCAA preseason basketball rankings came out this past week, however the NBA is still deeply embroiled in their work-stoppage which has already cost the Association the first two weeks of the regular campaign, with more announcements of cancelled games expected soon.
To a great extent the NBA has become an afterthought, a kind of “wake me when it’s over” mentality has developed for the majority of people who enjoy professional sports. As I have written repeatedly on these pages, the Association is at best a third sport in this nation and the longer the work-stoppage continues, the more apathetic the public will become. The two sides are arguing over $100 million, while the very existence of the game could be in danger.
What the public perceives is a fight between billionaires (the owners) and millionaires (the players) with very little sympathy for either side. This is really not an ideal time for this battle to be going on, when we are watching the country erupt with protests such as the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, that has been in place for over the last month.
In a way, there is a strange parallel between what is going on in Zuccotti Park in New York, as well as other cities across the land. It is the symbol of greed that has taken place over the last 40-years in professional sports. However, while both the protesters and the corporate executives have their supporters, the same can not be said for either side right now in the standoff that has put the brakes on the NBA season.
There will come a time when sports fans reach their tipping point and get fed up with the greed that has overtaken the sports that we enjoy. Whether this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back is up to both sides right now, as the Association tries to come to terms with ratifying a new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement. We live in an era with an ever shrinking entertainment budget for most families. If the NBA waits too long, they will stop getting their slice of the pie.