Does Anyone Care About The NBA Lockout?

November 1, 2011

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College football season is in full swing. The NFL season has just hit the halfway point. One of the craziest, most discussed, and best World Series games of all time (game 6 last week) just occurred. The NHL season is just underway, College basketball is starting to have exhibition matches and just finished up with a number of “midnight mayhem” types of scrimmages for the fans to help kick off the season.

Then there is the current NBA lockout.

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it……

The National Basketball Association has fallen from grace. Long gone are the days of Bird, Magic, the Doctor, and then the saving grace of Michael Jordan.

Oh yes, there has been some blips on the radar. There is the always interesting Mark Cuban of the Mavericks. There is Kobe gate where the star player in the league is having inappropriate relations with women on the road, only to find himself at a press conference with his wife talking about mistakes and family, while she is sporting a diamond on her hand bigger than the ring pop sucker you kids just scooped up last night while trick-or-treating.

Shaq has retired. The league will definitely feel the impact of this. He has been a breath of fresh air and enjoyment for many years.

LeBron has become the love or hate guy in the NBA. People love or hate the villain.

It is owners versus players on this one. But the opinion of many I talk to is…..”Who Cares”

The popularity of the NBA has been waning for the casual fan over the last decade. The league has been run with by the J Edgar Hoover of league commissioners, David Stern. The owners are proposing a 50-50 split of profits. The players are hanging their hat on getting the balance in their favor 52-48.. Neither side is budging. What will happen next?

Football has taken over as the star of all sports. College is and always will be popular and the pro game has been fueled primarily by the rise and success of Fantasy Football leagues around the nation. This brings in more casual fans than ever who will watch games to see how their players do. It is 17 weeks, it is easy it is basically one game a week.

This does not work as well in other sports such as baseball and basketball. Season is way too long. The Playoffs drag on forever. We are in a generation of millennials, I generations members and (gulp) gen – xers. They want immediate satisfaction.

Football provides this immediate sports fix. It is on television everywhere, it is easier to follow. There are even numerous shows produced by Fox, The Big Ten Network, and the omnipresent monopoly known as ESPN that cover the games, the highlights, the polls, the experts discussing upcoming games, the fantasy football side of games and more. These are all on the MAJOR networks and not for just the ultra-diehard fans to have to subscribe to.

The NBA has no such following on this scale. It has been playing 2nd and now at least 3rd fiddle to the up and coming National Hockey League.

The lockout is a bad thing for fans, the workers who have their livelihood depend on these teams, and the communities that these teams represent. If the players, owners and commissioner do not get together soon to save some part of this season, this could be a blow that will take decades to recover from.

TIMMMMMMMBERRRRRRRR!

Pretty sure no one heard it.

Until next time, Stay Classy Elberton Georgia.

Spanning The Globe

February 22, 2011

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Nothing big in the world of sports for me to devote an entire article to this week, so I will touch on a number of topics as we “span the globe”

Nascar
I am not a racing fan. Never have been, never will be. But when a rookie driver wins in just his 2nd Cup start and it is not just any win but a Daytona 500 win, that is pretty special. Almost as speical as his reaction to his crew on the radio as he crossed the finish line. “Are you serious?” Yes, we are serious and now you have seriously altered your career and future in the sport. Congratulations Trevor Bayne.

Basketball
Carmelo Anthony gets marquee billing as he is traded to the Knicks. Horrible trade for the Knicks. While Melo is a go to guy, he is playing with Amare Stoudamaire who requires a point guard to get him the ball, (well I guess they did also get Chauncey Billups in the deal). Carmelo is a full time shooter, mid range jumper take it to the rack occasionally type of guy … sounds a lot like Amare. I guess the Nuggets are the real winner here as they would have lost him to Free Agency and now they at least get something to show for it.

Golf
Yani Tseng wins her third straight tournament on the LPGA tour and has firmly grabbed the #1 spot in the LPGA world golf rankings. She is young, playing well and appears to be poised to dominate in 2011 on the women’s tour.

The Accenture match play starts this week for the guys on the PGA tour. With no one playing dominant and the ever crafty guise of match play it is a wide open – anyone can win event. I filled out a GolfWeek entry pool, and my pick was Paul Casey, which coincidentally appears to be the pick of the golf writers for the USA Today.

Who is #1?
What a crazy week in College Basketball, Kansas, Texas, Ohio State and Pittsburgh all have a shot at being ranked #1 and all promptly go out and lose. Duke claims the top spot with exactly 2 wins over teams ranked in the top 25 on the year. This is called a paper tiger folks … Duke is over-rated and hopefully will see an early exit from the Tourney this year, but the lofty ranking will likely get them a #1 seed and the easiest road much as last year.

NBA All Star Game Weekend
This all star event has officially jumped the shark, or in this case a Kia Optima. The slam dunk competition needs to go “old school” and get rid of all the props and added features. How about just dunking…what a novel concept.

The game itself is almost as big of a joke as the NFL All Pro game. When is the last time a home town player did NOT win the MVP award? Seems like it happens every year. I bet Vegas had the Black Mamba at 2/5 to win the MVP before the game was played.

Until next week, stay classy Austin Texas … and pass that bill that is going to allow anyone on a college campus to carry a concealed handgun. Remember folks, it is not a state … it is a Republic!

Knee Jerk Reactions

February 16, 2010

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It is sometimes human nature to react impusively rather than logically. This happens quite often, but I’ll choose to focus on two recent occurences.

The first occurence are the changes to the luge competition in the aftermath of Nodar Kumaritashvili’s death. His death was most certainly a tragedy. The added retaining wall at the spot where he was ejected from the course is a good idea. Shortening the men’s run by moving their start to the position previously used by the women is not a terrible idea. Shortening the course by these 600 feet (with the accompanying loss of elevation) caused speeds to drop from 95+mph to 90 mph.

The point where I have a concern, however, is the shortening of the women’s course by 800 feet (by moving it to the start point of the Juniors). The women were already at less risk of such extreme accidents by the mere fact that they have a tendency to weigh less than the male competitors (luge is a sport heavily affected by gravity, such that athletes below certain weights are allowed to wear lead weights to boost their mass). Less weight = less speed.  The shortening of the women’s course seems to be an attempt to show that an attempt is being made to ensure safety, when in reality, it is unlikely to make a big difference.  I’m not the only person unhappy about the changes – the competitors themselves were less than thrilled.

The second occurence is probably more likely simply sloppy reporting than intentional exaggeration.   I recently read an article about future Hall of Fame NBA player Tim Duncan. In an effort to show how important Duncan is, the writer pointed to the huge improvement from the 20-62 record the Spurs had he year before he joined the team (1996-97) to the 56-26 record they achieved in Duncan’s first year with the team – implying that Duncan was largely responsible for the 36 win improvement.

Tim Duncan is a great player, and I have utmost respect for him.   However, in this case, the writer is wrong about his impact.  In 1996-97, Hall of Famer David Robinson – then in the prime of his career – played just six games due to injury and All Star guard Sean Elliott also missed substantial time due to injury.  In 1995-96, The Spurs won 59 games on the heels of a 62 win season and a 55 win season.  The 20 win season of 1996-97 was a severe aberration and did not reflect the true talent of the team.  Using this as a baseline for determining Duncan’s impact is, in a word, lazy.

And in other sports new …

In luge, the USA’s Erin Hamlin had a disappointing first day.  After a first run of 41.835 seconds that had her eight overall, she slipped to a time of 42.219 in the second run.  That time was twentieth best in the run, and dropped her combined standing to fifteenth – and a long shot to make a run at a medal.  To nobody’s surprise, three time reigning Luge Word Cup champion Tatjana Hüfner of Germany was in the lead after Monday’s runs.  Hüfner’s 41.760 was third best in the first run.  She then put put down a blistering 41.481 in the second run, setting a track record. The Luge will finish with two more runs this afternoon.

Jamie MacMurray won a marathon Daytona 500.  The race was red flagged a couple of times as officials worked to fix a hole in the track -(yep, the NASCAR folks fix potholes much faster than your local DOT.  Although it was unfortunate that my favorite driver – Tony Stewart – didn’t pick up the win, it’s hard to root against a guy like MacMurray.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are trying to acquire Amare Stoudamire.  Hopefully, LeBron James appreciates what the Cavs are doing and stays put.  Seriously, LeBron, you’re a god in Cleveland and you have a good team around you.  Why trade this in to go to the Knicks – a team in tatters – simply to be in the media spotlight more.  Seriously, you’re getting plenty of attention as it is.

The NFL could be heading toward an uncapped year in 2010.  If this happens, there could be some huge salaries for 2010.  The uncapped year would be the result of owners opting out of the current collective bargaining agreement early.  The labor agreement was originally slated to last through 2013; the owners exercised an option to opt out after the 2011 season.  The uncapped seasons of 2010 and 2011 (assuming that a new agreement is not reached) is a poison pill tied to the owners opting out.  The players’ share of revenues is a key sticking point.  The players currently received 60% of revenues.  The owners would like to see this number shrink.  One beef the players have is that the owners won’t show them financial records.  On this particular point, I am forced to side with the players.  In most cases, I would say that a business has the right to keep their financial records secret.  However, you can’t tie the players’ salary cap to a component of finances without allowing the other side to review the records for accuracy and completeness – this leaves the door wide open for fraudulent behavior.  Don’t want the players to be able to look at your records?  Fine – then don’t tie the salary cap to revenue.