Thursday, September 29, 2011

David Stern Means Business (Or Does He?)

Last night, in a move that shocked no one, David Stern announced that he's pulling out the big guns in the battle with the player's union that's had the league locked out for the past few months. Stern's let it be known that he's sick of the player's shit and will pull the plug on the entire season unless they start listening to reason. Is Dave serious about this or is it just the usual gamesmanship? I'd bet on the latter, because Stern needs games to be played way more than the players do.

David Aldridge and the harbingers of doom on ESPN and NBA TV have been predicting at the very least half of the season could be lost since last season, so it's not too much of a surprise that we might not have any NBA this year. But, Stern's threat to axe the whole shebang if Derek Fisher doesn't start listening to his and the rest of the owner's demands reeks of hollow threats. It's an understandable play by a guy who's known to drive a pretty hard bargain (as sheisty as he may be, he's turned the NBA into a worldwide phenomenon) but it's still just talk. Stern needs games this season even more than the players need those checks- well, most of them at least. They might have to lease one of their Rolls Royce Phantoms as opposed to buy but they'll get by. Hell, half of the league seems to be on their way to Europe as we write this. But, David Stern needs the NBA to play. You remember everyone's reaction when they heard about Stern's threats? Of course not, because nobody cared. I'm not too sure why I'm typing this right now besides the fact that it's a slow sports day and I wanted to use that pic of the guy in the airbrushed Stern shirt. I knew the NBA wasn't too high on the priority lists of too many people my age or older but really nobody cares about the NBA being locked out. If there were no games for an entire season, I'm afraid people would just forget pro basketball existed in this country. The majority of Americans would watch the NCAA and Dexter or whatever else and keep it moving. Stern did a good job winning the country back after Jordan's retirement and the shortened season in 99 and even after some of his black players went into the stands and beat up white fans. But losing a season would be a catastrophe that the league might never come back from. It took barrels full of steroids and home runs to win back the baseball fan after the MLB strike, and that's America's national past time for Christ's sake. Stern and his teams of hip hop hooopers would be easily forgotten by an already disenchanted fan base in a reeling economy. I get why he's pulling out all the stops here. If the players call his bluff he's cooked. He better be careful, because the only thing worse than a strike is a strike that nobody cares about.

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