It’s July 1st and the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has officially expired. This is bad news for the NBA, much worse than the NFL Lockout. The NBA doesn’t have nearly the fan base of the NFL, and any extended shortage will severely hurt NBA much more than the NFL will be hurt. The NFL is exciting by nature, and the fans will be there when it comes back.
The last time the NBA locked out was the year after Michael Jordan retired for the second time. The 1998-99 season was reduced to 50 games as a result. It was a horrible time for the NBA – it’s biggest star just retired after winning three straight championships and now the season was cut short due to a lockout. It hurt the sport of basketball – severely.
Hate him or love him, LeBron James was a catalyst of the NBA revival. He was a headline machine over the past two plus seasons and it made the NBA relevant again. This season NBA ratings were at the highest level ever, surpassing the previous highs during the Jordan era.
This season saw an exciting Dunk Contest (finally), the rise of a young superstar (Derrick Rose), the first ever player to become a majority owner of a franchise (Jordan for the Charlotte Bobcats), one of the most exciting playoffs in a long time and a terrific Finals. Then the Cavs win the lottery in a huge way that made even a weak draft class exciting.
On the top of its game, the NBA was relevant and exciting. Then the CBA expires and the players are locked out. Luckily for the NBA, next season was the big free agent class and not this summer. The NBA needs to work quickly to avoid an impact to the season, otherwise it risks losing what it has worked so hard to regain – dedicated followers.
Does the NBA lockout seem like a buzz kill to you?
[Photo Credit: NationofBlue.com]