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