During last season I knew there was a possibility of a lockout. And despite the fact I've suffered through an NBA lockout before, I did what any basketball person who wasn't a League official or Owner did. I worried about the games that were being played on the court at the time and not an impending labor dispute, that is turning out to be way too complicated.
It's been over three months since the start of the lockout. In that time I have missed pro basketball at its finest, but not as much as I have started to recently. I have started to crave it and I am starting to suffer from some serious withdrawals.
One of my favorite things in life is Friday night during the NBA season. If there were ten or so games on a given Friday (including at least a few between good teams), I would bring a big pepperoni pizza from my favorite pizza place into my house, with a giant Coca-Cola to wash down the pizza. Then I would just sit back, chow down on my greasy yet very appetizing Italian cuisine, gulp down my favorite drink in the world and watch a handfull of NBA basketball games all night long. Thanks to the lockout I can only dream about that now.
The college basketball season will be upon us very soon, which is great but it's not the same. College ball doesn't deliver anywhere near the same level of other worldly talent, that the Association does. It doesn't possess the best trade deadline or All-Star Game in American sports either. The new college basketball season will help soothe my 'basketball jones' but it won't cure it. Recently NBA TV has broadcast classic NBA games from seasons past. That is another temporary fix that fails to make up for my lack of live world-class, grade A hoops. Everybody has their favorite players. And I miss watching mine play.
I even miss watching players who aren't exactly on my list of favorites. I long for the thrill of seeing the ball hang in the air, while finding out if Kobe Bryant nailed another buzzer beater. I think that proves how much I miss the NBA, since I'm a life-long Laker hater and a life-long Los Angeles resident, to boot.
Heck, speaking of LA, I could really go for an Earth shattering dunk by 'The Poster Boy' AKA Blake Griffin, right about now. I want to see how many points new Bobcat Corey Maggette can put up in Charlotte, with minimal talent around him. I've actually caught myself craving a Kings-Warriors match-up of late. So I can gaze upon what would be a game, with two amazing back-courts going up against each other. Sacramento Kings guards Tyreke Evans and rookie Jimmer Fredette vs. Golden State Warriors back-court mates Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry. I wanna see that high scoring and defense-less showdown but I can't!
I don't get to see, NBA TV analyst Ahmad Rashād refer to every guest he interviews, as his "MAIN MAN!," anymore. Gone are the nights when I watch female color analyst Doris Burke disprove plenty of sexist stereotypes, by outperforming plenty of hoops color GUYS, broadcast after broadcast. But I think what I'm going to miss the most is: New York Knicks legend and current Knicks color commentator Walt "Clyde" Frazier saying the word "previously" 11 times a game (Carmelo takes it to the hole for the and-1, he "previously" missed a lay-up when he was fouled/"previously" Spike [Lee] was quiet when the Knicks were down early but now he's gotten loud just like the rest of the crowd!).
I honestly don't know what's been the worst part of this lockout. It could be the painfully perplexing legal and financial jargon that the League and its players have been trying to hammer out (What the hell is a BRI?! and how can I get an 'amnesty clause' in fantasy football?). The toughest thing might be that sense of uneasiness, that fans have felt during this ordeal. In brass tax, it's a little weird to have sympathy for players who get paid an average of over $5 million dollars per year, because the players are getting bullied by older and much richer men.
It would be a tragedy if the entire 2011-12 NBA season was lost. It would be the first time I can remember, when I wouldn't be banging my head against the wall after seeing the results of the NBA All-Star voting (how did Kevin Garnett get voted in again?, he's averaging less points per game than Tyler Hansbrough?!). OK I guess that would be a positive and it's something that I don't miss one bit.
I'm not going to go into all the other problems the League has when it is functional, or why those problems exists. This article would be longer than Renaldo Balkman's dreadlocks if I did.
Not having the NBA around, takes a sort of buzz or electricity out of the sports community. Without the NBA, kids are less likely to go outside. With no NBA around, a young child is less likely to grab a ball that has their John Hancock scribbled on it, and run to their nearest court, because they didn't get inspired seeing Derrick Rose slash and dash his way to the hoop for two and the foul with 12 seconds left in the 4th quarter. The kids instead, might end up staying inside to watch their favorite player's (or in some cases favorite role players... like Matt Barnes) wives act like fools, on the act a fool network (VH1).
The longer this lockout goes on, the worse it is going to be for everyone involved: the players, the coaches, the fans, the team employees, the broadcasters, well... that is everyone minus the owners.
I learned this lesson as a young lad: Not only does money rule the world, it also rules the NBA.