Who is tall, rich and cries a lot? That’s right, nearly every single player of the National Basketball Association. Another one: who is rich, plays golf all day and cries a lot? Uh huh, just about each and every NBA team owner. I’m no mathematician—I’m not even a math major—but I think I can work this equation out: NBA players + NBA owners = a ton of grown, rich men crying like babies. And why are they crying, one might ask? Because they’re rich but not Bill Gates rich. And that’s apparently a problem.
At least, this is the notion people are getting from the recent NBA lockout. This writer is no expert, but it seems the conflict ultimately amounts to an enormous game of chicken between team owners and the players’ union. Technically, at the heart of the matter is how to split NBA revenues and what to do with the salary cap. The players argued for a 57/43 split (now they say no less than 52/48) in their favor, but the owners like the sounds of 50/50 better. Seems reasonable, right? Nope. And why not? How does anyone expect the Los Angeles Lakers’ forward Kobe Bryant to afford an island getaway mansion on a 50/50 split over billions of dollars? Somewhere out there Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce and numerous other NBA players are nodding aggressively.
That’s what is at stake, but what is being lost? Oh, you know, not much. Just an estimated tens of millions of dollars in total revenue over the course of a few cancelled weeks of the NBA season. I suppose it’s not a big deal that hundreds of NBA-related jobs are being lost over this, either.
But come to think of it… while all of that money is being lost (and eventually will be gained by crying, rich men), millions of people are struggling to wade through the murky waters of a down economy. What could those people do with a 50/50 split over billions of revenue dollars? Hell, what could those people do with a 1/99 split over billions of dollars? Since these people’s voices generally aren’t in print, I’ll do my best to sum up an argument on their behalf. It might go like this:
“Mr. David Stern (commissioner of the NBA), gathered owners and present players, we—the American people, as an independent, objective party on the matter of your dispute—would like to make a third plausible offer. We suggest that both the players and owners take their millions and billions of dollars in earnings, and shove it. Considering that you are anatomically unable to fit such a large sum of money in the location highlighted in our paperwork, we suggest donating the earnings to something of more pressing importance to an ailing nation than a group of prima donnas and the greedy, little gnome-like men that offer them outrageously expensive contracts. We, the American people, digress.”