NBA season hopes extinguished

Lebron face sad

Lebron face sadBoth sides of the NBA labor dispute failed to reach a settlement last night and with it went the chances of the current season seeing the light of day. There is to be no fairytale ending to the 2011 NBA Lockout with two digits almost certain to be added to the end of that date fairly soon. Long before it becomes the 2011-12 NBA Lockout, the season has been completely lost after both sides of the dispute laid blame at each other long enough for the clock to stop ticking.

The result of Monday’s meetings is the union being disbanded after they rejected the league’s latest offer with both sides crowing as to how unnecessary it all is. The players now embark on anti-trust lawsuit against the league that could end with them being awarded billions in damages. At the same time, it will irreparably wound player-team relations and result in the voiding of contracts across the league.

So, when the season actually went it was in the midst of a hail of squabbles and the threat of court battles that will last for months and maybe even years. Who’s to blame?

Both sides foot the blame for this work stoppage where everyone on the outside has suffered because they can’t work out how to share $4billion. The end result is season ticket money being handed back to fans with no guarantees they’ll return. Most franchises are in cities that have other pro sports teams and college basketball is already ready with its arms wide-open. Then there’s Europe.

A handful of players have started to play on the opposite side of the Atlantic and with the Olympic Games in London next summer a wholesale “upping of sticks”, as it were, is realistic. It’s a similar situation to the one the NHL found itself in last decade when its lockout ended an entire season. The emergence of star players such as Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin remedied the fan exodus. On the other side of the coin these lockouts cause damage that takes years to repair.

The gambling industry is another that won’t be happy to hear the news. In terms of sports betting, it’s up there with the NFL and the loss of a season won’t be met warmly. Though as supporters take their gate, money elsewhere the industry will likely see increases in other areas and it doesn’t just have to be sports betting either.

Years from now both sides of the dispute will look back and wonder why they decided this the best course of action in the harshest economic times in a generation – and so they should.