Luke Graham

Luke Graham

Luke Graham: NBA will have a season


Luke Graham

Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or

Find more columns by Luke here.

— In full disclosure, I don’t care much for the NBA.

I know people who are hardcore about it, love every minute of it and are in a state of disdain about the recent NBA lockout.

For me, the NBA can slow down to an unwatchable pace. There is too much 1-on-1 play, and teams don’t really start playing until the playoffs.

I think I may have watched five games all of last year. Despite what my feelings are about the NBA, it doesn’t cloud what eventually could happen.

The NBA lockout is much different than the NFL one that preceded it, at least in perception.

The NBA would love to be the NFL. It would love to have its fan support, television deals, and most importantly, popularity.

But it doesn’t. So where millions bemoaned the possibility of missing NFL games, there aren’t as many fans worrying about the NBA missing time.

So for an NBA fan, there is reason to worry. Just like lockouts and strikes in baseball and hockey would — and have been — worrisome, so should basketball’s impending ordeal.

These leagues, despite being huge in the sports landscape, can’t overcome missing games like the NFL could.

Heck, the NFL is more popular now after spending all summer talking about possibly missing games.

But NBA fans shouldn’t worry. While talking heads in the media will caution the season could be missed, I’m here to tell you LeBron James will be quitting in the fourth quarter by December at the latest.

It’s not hard to see. This lockout, in its principles, is much closer to the recent NFL one than past crippling lockouts and strikes.

The biggest issue breaks down to the owners and players each wanting a certain part of the pie. There are other issues, but not as big as that. It’s not far off from the NFL disagreement we sat through this summer.

History also suggests this lockout won’t last long.

Look at recent labor strikes that lasted long. The 1994 MLB strike was players holding out against a salary cap. The 1998-99 NBA lockout was about salary ceilings and the wage scale for rookies. The 2004-05 NHL lockout was about the owners wanting a salary cap.

So history suggests bigger fundamental issues lead to long, drawn out stoppages. This NBA lockout doesn’t have those.

The NBA, with all the players going overseas, owners taking hard stances about losing money and the fear put out by media types, will have a season.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email


Bill Dalzell 5 years, 7 months ago

Not really the same at all. The players were making too much in the NBA, and owners were supposedly losing a bunch of money. There was a lot more money to go around in the NFL. The players are going to have to make much bigger concessions than the NFL players. I bet the arrogance of the players locks them out and the NBA falters yet again.


rhys jones 5 years, 7 months ago

The sides are still divided on key issues, which are murky. I have heard both sides accused of unfair play. If it is not resolved by tomorrow, we will see cancellations through Christmas, and likely the whole season. It's not a pretty picture.

The players union is favoring the stars, who are talking of forming their own league, and can afford to weather the storm, whether through sponsorships, playing in Europe, or simply a fat bank account. The players really being hurt are the newcomers and upstarts, not having any of these options.

The owners are hardly better. First they juggle the numbers to make it appear they are losing more than in actuality, then they refuse a more equitable split of their own pie -- Memphis and Charlotte remain a far cry from New York and LA, the vast differences hardly explainable by gate revenues.

What they are really squabbling about is a 7% swing or so, plus or minus, of billions of dollars. Plus some salary cap issues they remain deeply divided on. There is enough money at stake the neither side has any major incentive to capitulate soon.

If not by tomorrow -- and now it's in arbitration -- it's unlikely to happen at all. And the ones being hurt, along with the minor players, are all those satellite industries -- concessions, parking, security, etc. Because all the money is staying home now, no game tonight, what's on TV?

I was just hoping we'd have some winners in Denver again soon, Rockies leaving a bad taste, and Broncos still in question, who only play once a week anyway, except their bye week, which is thankfully over now. I like George's chances of making a splash, with his team philosophy, quality talent through the roster, yet no superstar, because they all play for the team, not themselves. I had high hopes for this year.


rhys jones 5 years, 7 months ago

My apologies to Avs fans, in my winners-in-Denver remark, hockey not being high on my list, odd considering the portion of my youth spent in South Dakota. B'ball was my game, all long winter long, along with wrestling. Inside, where it was nice and warm.


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.