Whenever a plane lands there’s always one thing that everyone on the flight does nowadays – check their cell phones. Ringtones, bells and the almost omnipresent “Droooooid” sound fill up the cabin the moment the pilot says “You may now turn on your hand held devices.” Usually this is just out of habit. But, you want to know: how much has really happened during your 4 hour flight?
This Saturday I got the greatest gift of all. After an all-night flight I opened up my phone at 9:00 a.m. EST Saturday to see that the NBA lockout had ended sometime that morning and that we were going to have basketball back by Christmas! Kim Kardashian is single again, the McRibb is still at McDonald’s AND we get the NBA back by Christmas? This is the BEST FALL EVER for Black Men in America!
Now a more thorough analysis will be forthcoming, but in the short term (while you won’t hear it from any of the major sporting news outlets in the country) the NBA players actually won these negotiations.
And by “Win” I mean they didn’t “Lose” nearly as much as the NFL players did to end their lockout even though NBA players had less leverage.
Unlike the NFL players union, which had won a couple of court cases and had high level players like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees publicly fighting, the NBA lockout was mired in criticism from day one. Everyone thought that Player Union leader Billy Hunter was making mistake after another, and players were openly questioning his and Derek Fisher’s leadership.
And of course there was the ever present racially tinged message board chatter that these ‘thugs’ were just greedy crybabies who wanted to impoverish their benevolent bosses. They gave back a lot of money, but: contract lengths are the same, there is a pay incentive system and player movement has actually been enhanced. So there are winners on all sides in this one.
Except, of course, Barack Obama.
After pretty much failing in every negotiation he’s had all year Obama had finally pulled off a bit of a coup when it was announced a couple of weeks back that he was hosting a charity basketball tournament at the White House….with NBA players. That’s right: while the greedy owners and occasionally rudderless players couldn’t agree on anything, Obama had actually negotiated to have 12 high profile NBA players like Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard to participate in the Obama Classic Basketball Game on December 12th. Of course, now that the lockout is over, and the season is starting on Christmas it’s pretty likely that few if any of the big stars will have to time to come out and play pick-up with the Baller-in-Chief.
It’s kind of a shame for some of the players too, since given the way guys like Howard and Carmelo played last year this is probably the only way they’ll get a formal invitation to the White House.