Saturday, November 26, 2011

Basketball Is Back? NBA Parties Finally Compromise, Cede Egos


The labor talks no longer echo through our minds, sweeter than ever, as the players are back to the hardwood already to save half of the NBA season possibly and, you know, maybe even stand as a purpose in humankind. It took a 15-hour negotiation between NBA and player representatives in New York that lingered into early Saturday morning to end the long-suffering of an impasse.

This was, the work stoppage that is, enough to postpone half of the season, enough to spawn reactions of fans, exasperated and indifferent by a lockout in an age of the most fragile economic downturn. If this is finally over and concludes a preposterous 149-day work stoppage that subverted the competitive nature and the integrity of the game, then we’ll probably see exhibitions or Christmas Day games for season-openers. It’s all resolved in time before the cancellation of games had torpedoed and depreciated over time to further reduce earnings, downsizing jobs amid a recession with all the devoted attention on amortization for every franchise.

And although it took long enough, by now thousands of ushers are relieved to finally assist visitors in venues to their seats. Thank goodness concession stand workers can breathe a sigh of relief, whereas bartenders can serve drinks at the local bars and grills. The desperate fans, at long last, can buy unsold tickets from scalpers standing outside of events, often reselling them from brokers’ offices at extravagant prices.

This puts everyone back in business, a better strategic position for gaining profit – and potentially, all people are winning now that the parties have resolved their differences. The basketball season is upon us, and right on time, the sides came to their senses and realized the repercussions had they not acted proactively. The loss of 16 regular-season games and the preseason cost the owners and players about $400 million.

After nearly four months in rejecting the estimate 50-50 revenue split that owners and players reached a tentative deal on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, ultimately the NBA made progress to avoid the shame of becoming the second North American sports league to forfeit an entire season. The lack of movement from owners for months, many of whom were stubborn and reluctant in compromising, was for the sake of a better league and owners weren’t afraid to cancel a season. Like most owners, they were selfishly manipulated by their huge egos.

It’s folly to suggest that owners’ wallets had began to shrink all for greed and ego, an issue that has ruined the integrity and goodwill, not recognizing that a canceled season would have taken years for the league to recover and restore a damaged image. The parties knew it was imperative to curtail the nonsense, greediness and selfishness, and nobody really knows whether a 66-game schedule that begins with three eventful games on Christmas will actually bring more titillation.

And unlike most, Derek Fisher, the players’ union president, came to his senses at last, so the league can salvage what is left of the season – or at least protect the association from an absolute collapse. Suppose it could have been worse. If so, the game could have been ruined by finances and egos, but then the parties decided to ratify a deal before it was too late. The man also behind this has been Billy Hunter, the union’s executive director. The other man behind this has been commissioner David Stern, an unrelenting and disciplinary overseer, who might have fortified his mystified legacy.

Get this, the NBA is back.

This is all fine and dandy, especially when each week left us guessing the fate of the season. There was a time, of course, when it seemed that the ultimate Christmas gift was never on the list until the NBA made a list and checked it twice, eradicating fuss and bloated egos. And to see as the players and owners kissed and compromised, putting aside an endless fight essentially settling a deal that includes rougher luxury taxes, shorter guaranteed contracts and reduced mid-level exception to as a few as three years, it was understanding the two sides ceded ego and selfishness.

Suffice to say that they were more attentive as they exercised the significance of growth. And, really, Fisher and Hunter were responsible for getting the deal done, well, most of it anyway. The NBA season, once in shambles and under attack by raging fans, is lifted from the lockout and scheduled to begin on the next holiday, suddenly the industry distinguished for handling business timely.

The fear and anxiety has been released, finally, removing the bleakness – though Fisher requested to take the 50/50 split of basketball related income while Hunter insisted on rejecting the propose deal. Furthermore, when the time was right, they both reached a settlement in the best interest of the league, not only for themselves. There will always be plenty of blame on Fisher and Hunter, but after all each of them were fully alert and reached an agreement. There won’t be a missed season and $2 billion is sitting on the table for players, along with the highest average salary in North American sports history.

If not for Hunter, the union would have spent millions on lawyers involved in litigation. This league has competitive balance for the NBA, and now LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony among them are smiling.