If only basketball was as popular as soccer
No Basketball Anymore. This is the new meaning of the NBA acronym as of now, for as many fans know there is a good chance that there will be no 2011-12 season.
The players union and team owners have battled over a revamped collective bargaining agreement for months, neither side has budged, and according to ESPN.com, many NBA All-Stars have signed with teams outside of the United States. Many of the team owners have claimed that they are "losing money" and that the players need to make sacrifices in order to make sure the league stays solvent.
Now, take this statement as it stands. What the owners are proposing is that they are not making as much money as they used to, and because of this fact, whether due to poor marketing by the NBA, or the rise of MLS, or any other reason, the players need to take the brunt of the burden.
This doesn't seem right.
The players are the reason that fans buy tickets to games. They don't go to games to chant de-fence and bang inflated sticks together in a futile effort to make the opposition miss free throws.
They go to watch amazing athletes play a fast-paced, high-energy game and perform last second buzzer-beating miracles fit for nothing less than a Hollywood drama. The owners have an investment, and if the return on it isn't what it should be, the last place they should look to decrease costs of operation is by cutting player salaries.
Some of the most successful teams in the world are operating at a deficit. Manchester United is arguably the most well-known, popular sports franchise in the world, and even they are currently insolvent. According to ESPN, their debt was a staggering £433.2 million pounds; more than $682 million in U.S. dollars.
Would it be in the best interests of the Man U front office to cut the salaries of Wayne Rooney and Chicharito in order to balance the books? Probably not, for again, you shouldn't cut off your head in order to save weight.
As basketball gains popularity around the world, the avenues the players will have to make money will increase dramatically and it won't be long before U.S. team owners will have to compete with the rest of the world for top players. Until then, it looks like the players will either have to concede to the wants of the owners by taking a pay cut, or continue to strike and leave the U.S. fans with No Basketball Anymore.
Simon Walker, Sports Editor