The National Basketball Association (NBA) league owners and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) are involved in a lockout for the second time in a 12-year period during the league’s 65-year history.
Fans hope the lockout is a short one, such as in 1995, when the action lasted three months or in 1996, when it lasted only a couple of ours. In contrast, the 1998-99 lockout lasted six months and six days, cutting a lengthy 82-game season to only 50 games.
Derek Fisher, a guard with the Los Angeles Lakers and president of the players association said, “Owners might think this is the best way to get what they want. We don’t agree.”
The lockout began July 1 and will continue until a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is worked out and agreed upon by both sides. League officials say 22 of 30 teams would lose money, if the current agreement remains intact. Owners also said they lost hundreds of millions of dollars every season of this last six-year CBA. Some sports websites believe that the financial situation will get more critical sometime around Labor Day, which is approximately a month and a half before the season normally launches.
“I don’t think we’re closer. We have a huge philosophical divide,” NBA commissioner David Stern concluded earlier this month, after the two sides held a three-hour meeting without making any progress.
“The goal here has been to make the league profitable where all 30 teams can compete.”
Meanwhile, all teams are forbidden to make any contact with players right now. The annual summer league that is based in Las Vegas has been canceled, and the pre-season games for the NBA have not yet been scheduled in Europe.
“The problem is that there is such a gap in terms of numbers–where they are and where we are, and we just can’t find any way to bridge that gap,” said National Basketball Player’s Association (NBPA) chief director Billy Hunter.
While many people speculate about the economic impact the lockout will have on Los Angeles if it continues a long period of time, Stanford Proferssor Roger Nolls, says that studies of past actions found that there is almost no impact on the cities where the sports teams are located.
Noll, who is co-director of the Program on Regulatory Policy at Stanford, said the reason why is that the money spent on the games comes primarily from local residents, who used discretionary income to purchase tickets. In the event of a lockout, strike or other labor action, they simply spend their money going to other places such as restaurants and movies.
In fact, the economics professor noted employment actually goes up somewhat, because more people may need to be hired to accommodate increased traffic to local businesses.