Photo credited to cvrcak1 from Flickr.com

 

Don’t look at me like that. It is a viable option. Both the NBA and the NBPA are unwilling to budge in their position and it appears as if this type of monumental fan punishment is what the league was aiming for all along.

Fans assumed that the NBA would behave like the NFL, buck up and get things together so that only the preseason would be lost. After months of monthly meetings and stale faces stepping forth out of the black shadows of the negotiation rooms, we should have known better.

But, that is what we, as fans, get for putting the trust into the league’s hands to actually handle the labor dispute with finesse, stability and zero bloodshed.

Players were obviously upset at the news that the league was cancelling games. Were fans shocked? Hell yes! Lies bring about surprises so it is only following suit that ticket holders be gasping for air when the report was released that the most important games of the season would be scrapped.

These two weeks hold the storylines that are penetrated and strangled throughout the rest of the season. Miami’s loss to the Boston Celtics in their season opener and then the Celtics’ subsequent loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers posed the question, “Could the Cavs be dominating where their dethroned King failed?”

Of course this direction was quickly demolished and reformed when the Cavaliers began dropping games like hot potatoes, but the option was interesting to dwell upon nonetheless.

In the first two weeks of the 2010 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers pretended to be the men they were the season before during the NBA Finals. The taste of victory had to be among the sweetest ever tasted by Bryant, but the aftertaste proved to be tad bittersweet.

The hurrah smashing of the Boston Celtics in a high-powered Finals series appears to be dawning upon his last. No one can deny that Kobe’s once baby ‘fro will be turning into a distinguished salt & pepper topping pretty soon, at least in hooper years. In those two weeks, we saw the surge of someone who many, discounting the infamous Laker gang (fans), thought was on his way out.

Would the Lakers return to the Finals at that point? If you were to ask any basketball fan or random watcher, the answer would be yes automatically. From what I saw I was two seconds away from jumping on the bandwagon myself.

Then again I have been haunted by the consequences of following and being granted more than you bargained for (Thanks Twitter!), so I decided to stay in my own South Beach lane. In the latter portion of the season, we saw the Lakers grow old in every avenue but passion and the squad looked like they had given up, infinitely.

Even though many were disappointed by the Dallas Mavericks complete and utter domination of the Lakers in the Western Conference Playoffs, those two weeks sparked the debate and the predicted option of Miami Heat vs. the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals.

We could trail on into meaningless conversation about what the first two weeks of the season means to the league, their fans and TV ratings, but it will not matter. Why? Nothing a fanatic or outsider has said about the NBA and their financially charged labor lockout has changed a thing about how the ship is being sailed into nothingness. The games are still cancelled and without a general direction to head in or hope to hope for, the common fan will find something else to zoom in on.

The attention span of the American sports fan is about 60 seconds given the sport being played in front of them and whether or not they are watching it up, close and personal or live and in color at home next to screaming babies and nagging wives. Those “Sorry honey. I can’t talk right now, LeBron just bricked another one. We will talk about visiting your mother later” moments will have to wait until both sides of the work stoppage get their minds right, but the cancellation of these games shows that there is no closing gaps in sight.

The NBA is not completely unaware of what the cancellation will do to the popularity of the league. Watching the players in the exhibition games is not handling the need of competition for them or the fans and the league understands that well.

Unfortunately, the need to snatch more money out of players’ pockets seems to be more important than what produces this type of financial support for either side in the first place. The fans have barely been mentioned by David Stern and there is no end in sight as to when the feelings and disappointment of the fans will ever be brought to the surface by the NBA Commissioner.

He doesn’t care what we think.

Stern works for the owners and for as long as they want to hold out for what they think is their piece of the pie, he will oblige. That is what he was hired to do. That and uphold the integrity of the league.

The fans are not as important as sticking it to the players right where they deserve it. The NBA will not shift unless they are successful and the NBPA will not allow their members to be bamboozled as they feel the NFL players were in their 10-year CBA agreement.

It’s lose-lose. The fans lose a season of the NBA and the fans lose their already fleeting attention for the league in general.

Grab your foreign paraphernalia. Looks like we are headed overseas!

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