Thursday, October 6

Lockout Rant

I haven't written too much about the lockout because, in all honesty, I think everyone else is as sick of it as I am.

Look, you've got lawyers, meetings, contracts, and David Stern - it's the perfect combination of everything Americans hate. We'd much rather look at 20-year-old YouTube clips of Shawn Kemp dunks than ... wait, hey, come back here!

As I was saying, I haven't written too much about the lockout, and I'm not interested in writing (and I'm guessing you're not interested in reading) what I think is the best way to solve this mess. 53% of BRI, 50% of BRI, no more long-term deals, no more Bird rights ... I just don't care, and I'm not nearly smart enough to figure out an easy way to solve it.

What I am interested in, though, is the perception that exists that the NBA is on the verge of blowing some sort of "momentum" that it built up during last year's playoffs. This, friends, is garbage, and the people who run the NBA know it.

They know it because they know we're all a bunch of suckers. Look, the NHL - a league who plays in the shadows and edges of sport society, a sport with a participation rate approximately 3 notches below lacrosse among American youth - gave up an entire season half a decade ago, and how do you think that hurt them?

Not at all.



If you're curious, that's the per-game attendance for the NHL for every season since 2000-01, with the exception of 2004-05, when there was no season. Now, can you tell me how the absence of the league for an entire season negatively affected the NHL? I sure as hell can't, and those numbers include Phoenix, where hockey is about as popular as pro-immigration lectures, and Atlanta, a city which so loved its team that it staged a massive rally when they left for Winnipeg this summer.

The people that run the NBA know they'll survive because even when they roast a fan-base over a pit full of hot coals, then douse them with whatever they use to get the diseases out of locker room hot tubs, those fanbases still clamor for more. For crying out loud, in Seattle, home to the whiniest fans on the planet, we're still itching for more NBA. Sacramento, even when their owners treat them worse than they do their airplane latrine staff, is falling all over itself to keep the NBA in town.

So spare me the rhetoric about how the NBA is "blowing its chance" to build on a successful post-season, or that the lockout - if it costs the league an entire season - will devastate the NBA's popularity in North America. It's all crap, because the people that run this league know full well what its fans are.

Suckers.

4 comments:

payton2kemp said...

What happened to the sonics central sight?

Anonymous said...

It's not a blogger/word press site, and I think they're just renewing their server agreement. I saw Kevin Pelton mention on twitter that it ought to be up again soon. Hope it's back - it's alot better than this crappy site! (Kidding, guys! Love SSS.)

Paul Merrill said...

It's true, Pete. The fans will return again and again. But I'm curious if the players will, and if they do, what shape they'll be in (see: Baker, Vin & Kemp, Shawn).

Anonymous said...

Looks like JA Adande agrees with you:

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/canceltwoweeks-111010/nba-cancels-two-weeks-earns-self-inflicted-wound

The NBA was counting on you to be a sucker. You'd be a sucker because the league just intentionally damaged its brand and devalued its product by showing its willingness to do without it, secure in the knowledge that fans would still come back once this was over. Or you're a sucker because you bought the lines the NBA fed you for the better part of two years -- that the league needed a hard salary cap and salary rollbacks and other drastic changes to the fundamental structure of the league in order for the business model to be tenable -- only to find out that wasn't actually the case.