We have said very little about the lockout that has ground the NBA's off season to a halt. Part of that has been due to a lack of time and another part has been because it is just too damn depressing. Depressing for those of us who may not be in the inner circle of the league but whose lives seem to revolve around it nonetheless.
One of the big questions I get asked by people that don't follow the league as closely as I do is whose side should they be on? The owners or the players? Honestly I don't have an answer. After all it is hard to feel sorry for players who make more money than I could ever dream of for playing a game. Then again it is hard to fault the players because if teams and owners are willing to give those players outrageous contracts then who am I to say they should turn them down. I most certainly wouldn't and would love to drive a pick up truck like this.
In actuality both sides are at fault and there is no denying that. Yet it is the average fan, the die hard that lives and dies with every made or missed jump shot that will be effected the most. This lockout is just in its early stages and a lot of the potential doomsday stories about shortened or missed seasons are floated into the press by design, but those threats should not be dismissed.
The issues are simple. Either the owners are making money or losing money and they want the players to have a smaller slice of the pie so to speak. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. I look at a franchise like Atlanta that has been pretty good over the course of the last three seasons but I would hesitate to speculate to how much if any money the Atlanta Spirit made from the club. The flip side of the players argument would be how could a club like Atlanta that is struggling to turn over a profit offer the largest free agent contract to a player in the NBA last summer?
The fact is I don't care which side is perceived as the winner in this situation. We are all losers for everyday that this lockout exists as it eats away at the popularity that the sport built off of last season's success. A popularity level that they haven't sniffed since Michael Jordan retired as a Chicago Bull. Maybe I am selfish, but I could care less if the teams or the players are making money. I just want the game back for those that love it the most which is the fans.
I am in this for the long haul, but I am afraid that there will be many that aren't.