By Shawn Muller-
(CBS) The American economy looks like it is headed for another recession. People are fed up with Wall Street. The unemployment rate is still high, and yet, here we sports fans are again, listening to another group of millionaires and billionaires argue over money.
It all seems a little trivial to the majority of us, doesn’t it? I mean, people would kill to make the amount of money professional athletes make, especially considering they get to play a game for a living. Arguing about how billions of dollars should be split up seems a little bit trivial, especially considering the amount of money these individuals should have -in their bank accounts.
Here is a news flash for the NBPA and the owners:
The National Basketball Association is not the National Football League and if you keep this work stoppage going, your league will be on life support, just waiting to have the plug pulled. Davis Stern has already cancelled the first two weeks of the regular season, and if things don’t change for the better soon, more games are likely to follow.
You are making a huge mistake here fellas!
Sports fans across the country live and breathe NFL football, not pro basketball.
The NFL could have literally canceled the first 10 weeks of the regular season and I can almost guarantee you that it would not have mattered. People would have shown up in droves to watch the final 6 games of the season, and the playoffs would have been just as popular as they have ever been.
The Super Bowl is watched by all.
The NBA Finals? Not so much.
Ever since the greats like Michael, Magic, and Larry left the league, the NBA has not been nearly as popular to the public today as it once was. Sure, good players have come along throughout the years, like Shaq, Kobe, and Tim Duncan, but the lack of overall “star power” led to a drop off of interest in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Couple that issue with the brawl between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons fans and it is no wonder why people were losing interest.
Now, with players like LeBron, Derrick, Dwight Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant, the NBA had been on the rebound.
The “star-quality” was coming back after a brief hiatus.
Heck, just last year, the league earned roughly $4 billion in revenue, television ratings were at an all-time high, and the playoffs were some of the best basketball games we have seen in quite some time. But all of this could be in jeopardy if these idiots don’t get their heads out of their respective rear-ends–especially the owners.
You see, unlike NFL players, NBA players can play overseas and be compensated very nicely while doing it.
Kobe Bryant was reportedly offered roughly $2 million for playing one game—yes, ONE stinking game—for a team in Italy. Can the NBA owners offer such ridiculousness? Of course they can’t. Nor should they. But if European owners are dumb enough to pay that kind of money for the NBA’s top-talent, why would/should they stay in the states and wait around?
Players don’t need the NBA to make a hefty living playing basketball. Foreign leagues can provide everything they hope to achieve financially in a much shorter period of time.
I guess NFL players could have taken their talents to the Canadian Football League, but we all know the CFL didn’t—and never will—pose a serious threat to the NFL.
Plus, it’s Canada!
Ok, that was a bit harsh so I apologize to all the Canadians, but the truth of the matter is, American football is the only game in town and will be so for the foreseeable future.
The NBA on the other hand, cannot say the same. Foreign clubs have the money and have already shown that they are willing to pay top dollar for NBA talent to come overseas. Of course players grew up dreaming of playing in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston rather than Istanbul, Moscow, and Athens, but if they can make good money playing in Europe, why wouldn’t they if the NBA isn’t an option?
We all understand that professional sports are a business first and foremost, but if the NBA owners and the NBPA can’t come to an agreement sooner rather than later, then there may not be any business left.
When consumers are weary about a product they tend to stay away from it.
The NFL is not and will not be a product people will become weary of.
The NBA product on the other hand?
Well, I guess that is still up for debate, but if they continue to cancel regular season games—or possibly the entire season—don’t be shocked if the fans leave the NBA for good.
Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24. Read more of his blogs here.