This season I have not enjoyed the NBA as I have in the past. You may jump right to the fact the Raptors had little playoff chances from day 1. I admit that probably doesn't help matters. But I have lived through bad Raptor seasons before. At the core of it is likely more the impending and some say enviable NBA Lockout that could take place next season. Obviously from a totally selfish point of view it scares me, because I am trying to eek out a living covering the NBA and if they do not play games it is going to have a heavy toll on me. Not to mention the tens of thousands that make a living based on the NBA. None of which are making the money that NBA Players or NBA Owners are. They all have more than enough money to survive for the rest of their lives in many cases. So, if they have an extended labour battle, the impact on them will be minimal. While people like myself would be crippled by it financially. The guys and gals that sell programs, The kid with the part time job that sells popcorn and a ton of people online that make a living, or try to based on the NBA. Those are only a few examples.
This is not to mention all of you folks that may not make a living off the game, but enjoy it and make it a part of your lives. I have made it no secret that I am not a fan of hockey. Part of that is living here in Canada where the sport is crammed down my throat on a regular basis. But even with that prior to the NHL Lockout that cost them an entire season, I would occasionally watch a hockey game. After that lockout my interest level went to zero. While leagues will always go on and on about how they care about fans it really is a lot of B.S. When you can take away a sport and a championship or season away from fans over money than you don't care. It has taken a long time before I have even got back a minor interest in baseball. They had a labour dispute back in 1994 that cost them a World Series. Ask Expos fans about that. You can argue that may have contributed to them losing their team. The Expos were on the verge of being a contender for that World Series that never was. It is the ultimate slap in the face to fans and people that love a sport to cancel a season or a championship for a dispute that is based completely about money.
At the end of the day when a new CBA is in place, regardless of who wins, you will still have very rich players and even richer owners. It will be the little folks like me and the fans of the sport that suffer. We will be the ones that get screwed at the end of the day. The joy that you get from watching the game, be it the Raptors or the NBA in general is going to be taken away from all of us. If the NBA CARES and truly CARES about it fans then David Stern will get a deal done and make it happen. But ultimately the NBA CARES about making money. This whole thing that has become a common phrase that SPORTS IS A BUSINESS. It is funny how it was a business when I was a kid but it was never crammed down my throat on a regular basis.
Lebron James and Chris Bosh made business decisions to go to Miami. It was there 100% right to do so. It also by looking at this NBA season seems to be a very wise one. While many will point to how they left as the reason why many fans can't stand them and also the Heat. However, is not a small part of that hate being about the fact they made a business choice and basically said screw their fans. It is not like they went to a franchise that has the NBA's best fanbase by a long shot. They went to a place where they could win a title and could care less about much else. I am sure the fact it was based in a city like Miami with nice weather and a great night life didn't hurt. While they did leave some dollars on the table, if they can build the dynasty that they envision they will more than recover those lost dollars.
The most painful thing is the people that care the most in terms of fans are basically hostages in these labour disputes. They are always the losers at the end of any work stoppages. People will spin it and make it seem like they are doing what is best for the game. That is a lie, they are doing what is best for themselves. They may love and care about the game. But they love and care about their bottom line more.
So as this season marches on, I grow more fearful of what is to come. I have dedicated over 3 years of my life to building up this blog. All of those hours and all of that work can go up in smoke because of something that is beyond my control. It makes you angry, upset and fearful. It is all the smaller people that suffer in these things. The Players, The Owners and the Broadcasters will all be able to survive. I truly pray for sanity and a season next year. Not just for my own selfish fears but for all the many people that depend on the NBA for earning their living and for the fans who just want to enjoy the sport they love. I don't want to grow jaded towards basketball as I have with other sports like hockey and baseball. Part of what makes me successful at this, is my passion and love for what I do. Here is hoping that will remain and we will be watching basketball at this time next year.