All I have is one thing to say to the NBA: it’s been real. If the NBA thought the fan backlash to the 1999 lockout was bad, it hasn’t seen anything yet.
Fans are already having a hard time relating to NBA players. First let’s be real about something: most fans are white and are at the very least middle-class and most of the players are tatted-up brothers from the wrong side of the train tracks. It’s kinda easy to see why those fans do not exactly identify with those players.
Fans do not like the perceived entitled attitudes of players. Most players are among the highest paid athletes in the world. Most fans feel that the players are only in it for the money and do not give their best unless they are in a contract year.
Fans were turned off from “The Malice in the Palace” episode where nutjob Ron Artest (who now goes by “Metta World Peace”, again NUTJOB) set off a riot by going into the stands swinging on fans during a timeout. Fans like to label NBA players “thugs” and “hoodrats”, solely based upon the players’ appearance. Most players are not helping eradicate that perception by being tatted-up to the point of being walking works of art.
What I am trying to say is the NBA is not the NFL. The NFL is king in this country.
The fans get NFL players, and the players tend to fan friendlier and is more marketable than average NBA players. That’s not entirely the NBA’s fault, but it goes back to the perception issue it has with its fans.
And fans seeing NBA players and owners bicker over billions of dollars in what has been a down economy only adds to the negative perception. As a result, the average casual NBA fan is turned off to the point of becoming indifferent.
Not many fans care if there is an NBA season or not. Hell, I bet there are some sports fans who HOPE there is not NBA season and that it causes the league sustainable financial damage.
I’ll say this: if the NBA does cancel the regular season, if can forget about being in the sporting landscape’s conscious for a long time. Ask the National Hockey League how life is being televised on obscure networks (Versus).
Bottom line: the NBA owners and its players need to exercise some common sense and make a deal NOW. The NHL cannot believe how stupid the NBA is acting.