It’s the middle of October and rather than writing about how exciting pre-season games have been and speculating on the upcoming season and drooling over the anticipation of all of our impending fantasy basketball drafts we surf the net and see nothing.
Nothing NBA related that is. There is no news, which in some cases is good news. But in this case, it’s terrible news. We watched as David Stern announced the cancellation of training camp and pre-season and eventually the first 2 weeks of the Regular Season. We now sit and wait for word whether the league will return in time for Christmas. CHRISTMAS!!! That’s December for crying out loud. A George Cohen, a Federal Mediator has been brought in to see if he can help both sides come to an agreement. He is after all the man that helped end the NFL lockout this past summer. NBA Commish David Stern has said that he will cancel games up until Christmas if no resolution comes from Cohen’s interaction.
The question, however is whether or not NBA Players even want to come back and play. It may sound ridiculous to say (type in this case), but one should examine the facts before jumping to conclusions.
Since word first broke about the fear of a lockout players began their exodus from North America to play abroad. Since the lockout is now on day 110 that mass departure has yet to stop. As of today, there has been 61 NBA players that have signed contracts with teams outside of the NBA. Some of the 61 players have signed contracts that have NBA opt-out clauses that allow them to return to the NBA in the case the lockout ends, but others (Sonny Weems, DuJuan Summers, Darius Songalia, J.R. Smith, Josh Powell, Earl Clark) have chosen to sign for more money and do not have this clause. The exodus has slowed down, and is all but over as most overseas leagues have began and their rosters are set, limiting the available room for NBA talent to head over.
The draw of International basketball isn’t the only way players are amusing themselves from a basketball perspective. It seems like every week another independent league super-game is being played. Whether it be the Goodman League, Drew League, Melo League, Durant vs Griffin Game or the Las Vegas Impact League, players have been participating in quasi All-Star games almost weekly keeping themselves in shape and more importantly entertaining fans across America.
And last and of course not least we have sponsorship dollars, television spots and the mass media keeping players busy. Thus the true question that must be asked. With the Superstar players being the “voice” of the NBA, is it safe to assume that “they” have no desire to return?
We’ve seen Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) Dancing With the Stars, Blake Griffin on Funny or Die, Kevin Durant Shooting a Movie, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony on Law & Order and of course Lebron James’s world tour which saw him visit London the other day to watch a Football match. Let’s not forget of course the numerous and apparently never ending sponsorship spots that we’ve seen the likes of Kobe, Derrick Rose, D-Wade in the money has yet to stop flowing in.
With so many extra-curricular activities keeping players busy and the cash flow apparently never ending, is there even a want to return? Has money corrupted these “professional athletes” concept of a dollar? Have they forgotten their roots and why they ever started playing the game.
Some used to say only time will tell. Time told, and from the looks of things greed has and will reign supreme as it relates to the NBA and this ongoing labor dispute.