Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The NBA is Letting the Iron Cool

"Strike while the iron is hot."

One of the classic lines of advice my father has bestowed upon me over the years.

It's a pretty good mantra that applies to multiple aspects in life.  For those who don't follow, it basically means, don't halt momentum when you've got it going in the right direction.

If only the NBA could have a little chat with my old man.

The lockout has killed any momentum the league had and that's sad given the Association is coming off arguably the most exciting season since Jordan's last year in Chicago and maybe even before that when MJ, Magic, Bird, Dominique, and Isiah battled for supremacy.

I am not going to pretend to be some kind of financial wizard.  I hate math and I hate numbers. So, the monetary issues of the lockout are a bore to breakdown.  But, I understand the concept of not ruining a good thing (my ex-girlfriends will argue against this statement) and to me, this lockout seems unnecessary.

The cliff notes version is the owners want to put measures in place that protect themselves and small market teams from losing money.  The players want a greater share of the revenue.  Surely there is some middle ground, middle ground that doesn't need to be found by throwing away an entire season.

Let me take you back to early June.

The start of the NBA Finals had a special buzz.  It was evil versus the rest of the world with Miami and their over-hyped, but amazingly talented trio taking on a Mavericks team made up of guys likely playing for their last chance at a title.  The six game series was a phenomenal ending to a season that even started with a level of excitement that, like a Blake Griffin dunk, just continued to accelerate higher as the year went on.

It was perfect.

In a country where football reigns supreme and baseball is a distant second, the NBA took center stage.  The NFL was dealing with its own lockout and the dog days of the MLB season were in full swing (pardon the pun).

It was an ideal chance for the NBA to capture the attention of the sports world, and it did.

I remember racing home from work to watch the Finals' games and was glued to Twitter as LeBron and Dirk battled.  I never used twitter before the NBA playoffs, but there was so much debate regarding legacies, letdowns, and legends that I wanted to see what everyone was saying.

The NBA was back and better than ever. It was captivating, "must see T.V" that Carl Winslow would be impressed with.

Now look at it.

The NFL season is upon us. College football is approaching the midway point, and the end of the Major League Baseball season has been one for the ages.  Those leagues are again the primary focus and now people are even asking the question "Will you miss the NBA?"

A league that truly cared about its fan base would never let this question arise.

If there is one thing Americans share in common it's that we have short memories.  We love this candidate one minute, seconds later we are putting up lawn signs of their rival.   We buy an Iphone Four and months later think its garbage when the Iphone 4s hits the shelves.  We change our minds like a Kardashian changes boyfriends.

The NBA players, owners, and commissioner should keep this in the forefront of their minds.

If in-your-face dunks and Melanie Iglesias-type dime assists are off the nightly highlight reels and not the topic of debates on sports talk shows daily, the country will find other places to turn its attention.

If the league thinks it has a revenue problem now, just wait to see how bad it will be when no one remembers or cares if it exists.

The first two weeks of the regular season have already been scrapped and the NBA's iron is getting cooler.  If the owners and players don't come to an agreement soon, they  may alienate fans just enough that excitement for the league may flame out for good.

...Just ask the NHL.

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