In the weeks and months to come, the NBA will attempt to use all of those methods. They will load us down with facts and figures that explain how wonderful the league is, how healthy its balance sheets are, and how strong its ratings are.
Just remember, when you hear those words, what the chart below is showing you:
That, my friends, is the cold, hard hand of reality smacking David Stern in the face. In the past six years, his league has gone from dominator to also-ran.
Nice work, fellas.
[NOTE: To accommodate the NHL's work stoppage which eliminated an entire season, I shifted the NHL numbers from the previous season up into the empty gap.
NOTE2: Graph has been updated.]