The 146 day lockout has ended and the NBA is looking to reel off games that count on Christmas Day with a triple header that will no doubt feature teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Knicks, Bulls, Mavericks and Heat to start off with a bang. The only question now is: will the fans really care? Sure there will be diehard fans that would have missed the game and would watch an NBA game outside in the snow. But for those who were on the fence and starting to come around to learn to love the NBA for the terrific artistry that is displayed, those are the ones to worry about.
There is said to still be several topics that need to be hashed out, but the meat and potato part of it has been settled. That is music to a lot of the players’ ears; especially since the checks stopped. Let’s face it: no matter how much of a stance anyone takes on an issue, no one wants to lose money that cannot be replaced. During a lockout or strike, no one gets paid. And one couldn’t imagine being at an advanced age (athletically speaking, 35 years old) in the last year of a contract that pays 14 million dollars guaranteed in one year and sacrificing it for a perceived greater good. That type of money cannot be replaced.
From most accounts, the players are excited about going back to work, with a vote by the players and owners to ratify the deal still on the table. Now the League will have to, no doubt, do a lot of spin doctoring and positive marketing to pacify disgruntled fans, especially in certain markets that couldn’t draw files on leftover food. Markets like New Jersey, Milwaukee, Detroit, Sacramento, New Orleans, Indiana and Memphis will have to do a lot of 2- for the price of 1-deals to fill up empty seats.