If you’ve been following the sports world the past several months then you no doubt are aware of the current labor dispute in the NBA between the owners and players which has cost the league all scheduled games through December 15.
Like 99% of you out there I can’t relate to a fight between billionaires and millionaires. Some of you side with the players while others side with the owners. As for me, I honestly don’t care and will openly admit that I haven’t been following every single detail.
All I know is that the players have rejected the owners latest proposal and now the players union is taking steps to decertify thus putting the 2011-2012 NBA season in serious jeopardy.
As I began to think about not having professional basketball this fall through spring I began to think about the people that are the biggest losers in this situation.
Chances are if you were to ask people who the losers are in this current dispute, many would say the fans are those who are hurt the most. While I do agree, I think that’s a superficial answer. Sure the fans are the most loyal customers of the product who pump hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars into the NBA machine through ticket sales and merchandise just to name a couple of revenue streams.
For them getting the receipt of a labor dispute that’s forcing the cancellation of games is not exactly the kind of payback they were looking for. While the fans do indeed come out on the short end of the stick I think there are those who lose out just as much if not worse.
Let’s start with the player who had planned to play his final season this year. Like many of you no one wants to be forced in to retirement due to circumstances beyond their control. Everyone wants to end their respective careers on their own terms. Because of this labor dispute that player will no longer have that ability. Circumstances are forcing him to end his career in a less than ideal fashion.
When we think about the players in this dispute, we undoubtedly think about the superstars like Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade and Lebron James. They are the faces of the NBA and deservedly so. Does anyone think about the guys at the end of the bench who are making the league minimum on a one year contract?
With no NBA team to play for, this player must now look for alternative ways by which to make a living. Now he is forced to play in a foreign country if he wants to continue to make a living. Moving from one city to another or from state to state can be a tough adjustment. I’ve done the latter twice in my life. I can’t even begin to imagine the experience of having to move to another country and either uproot my family or spend months at a time away from them while being halfway around the world. If you’re a player that falls into this category I in no way envy your position.
However, the biggest losers in all this are the arena worker. The common, everyday, middle class person so many of us can relate to. With no games to work, these people are now amongst the ranks of the unemployed. No longer do they have the means they were counting on to pay their bills or provide for their families.
These are people we see all the time at a game but pass by with hardly an acknowledgment. These people are your parking attendants, ticket scanners, food vendors, attendants and the person selling you programs. They are the faceless people who without them you would not have some of your most cherished memories and wonderful experiences. They are the biggest losers in the NBA Labor Dispute.
Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.
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