Dear NBA, Nobody Really Cares.

Posted: October 5, 2011 by arayegee in NFL

I would call myself the perfect representation of the casual fan of basketball. I have my favorite team, favorite players, and make it to a few games every now and then. If you graded my knowledge of the game on a scale of 1-10, Id give myself a solid 7.5.  Ill tune in to basketball during the big games and playoffs, but the regular season holds as much weight as the baseball regular season. Miss ten games in a row, and all I need is a sports page, highlight clips, and a stat sheet to feel like I’m completely caught up. My overall care for the NBA? Well lets just say that I wasn’t too broken up when the season was shortened to 50 games in 1999. Shoot, the Broncos were playing the Packers in the Super Bowl that year, who gave a hoot about the Spurs?

Im not saying all this to enrage my NBA fanatics, I know you all love basketball like a firstborn. I’m just making it clear that the overall perception of the NBA to the casual fan is out of sight, out of mind. I dont really care, and neither do the rest of the casual fans of basketball, which happens to be a large percentage of NBA fans. Which is why the NBA as an establishment is really walking on thin ice with the current lockout situation.

Th majority of fans of the NBA are fans of the players, not the teams. LeBron James goes from Cleveland to Miami, and all of a sudden Miami Heat bars are popping up all over the nation and his jersey is the #1 seller. Shaq has worn more jerseys than Liz Taylor wore wedding rings, yet wherever he goes he brings a stable of loyal fans. Kobe switches his jersey from #8 to #24, and THAT becomes the #1 seller. Whether owners like it or not, its not their franchises that are the driving force of the league, it’s the players.  Maybe they see their NFL counterparts and feel like they can throw their weight around like they did in their labor dispute. The only problem with that logic is, NFL isnt even a sport, its a national addiction. I have friends who will remain nameless that actually planned to pop the question if there was no football season (their reasoning: “It’ll give me something to do”. Im not joking). THe NFL is the closest thing to a monopoly that this nation will see since the days of Rockefeller. There have no real competition, and their players dont have the luxury of going overseas to play. Outside of the ones who come across a broadcasting gig, its either NFL or Aisle 9 at Target.

NFL teams have FANS, and these fans dont waver depending on who leaves the team. I really like Champ Bailey, and I still do. But hes a Bronco now, and im still a Redskins fan. This is the mentality NBA owners WANT their consumers to have, but that’s just not the case.

Right now, the NBA is the grown up equivalent to the rich kid who wont let anybody play on his court because he never gets picked on anybody’s team. NBA superstars have played in exhibition games in packed  gyms all over the country, giving more power to the argument that the casual fan really doesnt care what jersey they’re in, as long as they’re playing basketball.

Should the players make their own league? I dont think they have the finances or focus to do that, and honestly the casual fan wouldnt really care if they did or didnt.  If Kobe goes to play in Italy, then Kobe fans will be watching him play in Italy. The money is with the fans, and if your fans are mostly semi-clueless spectators, and you can wave “The Logo” around as much as you want, your boasts of pastime supremacy falls on deaf, apathetic ears.  The fact of the matter is from August to April, the NBA is playing second fiddle to NFL and college basketball, and as much as you may think the NBA is a stalwart in American pastimes, look no further than Major League Baseball. They thought the same thing once before as well.


Go ahead and cancel the season and see how hard it is to get lukewarm fans back. Then again, you guys already should know this…

  1. RenzReport says:

    Who needs the NBA when I can get my weekly fix by watching these fools light it up in local gyms…

  2. dontbeskerritt says:

    As ArAyeGee stated, sports is very different than a regular business. In a regular business, its the product that drives the industry, no one cares who or what gets the product to us. But in sports, its a worker driven industry. It’s the players that we go to pay and see. No one cares about Ted Leonsis sitting courtside or Jerry Buss and his 15-year old girlfriend or Donald Sterling insulting his own players. We want to see the players. Hell as Richan said, its not even the basketball product we go to see, we see entertainment on the court from the best of the best.

    That is why it’s always so weird for me when people side with the owners, especially when it isn’t blatantly evident that their system is unjust. The owners proposed a 50-50 split that really wasn’t because the owners would take a percentage off the top making it 47 percent. The owners and Stern know that the average fan would just see the 50-50 and say the players are greedy even though the proposal isn’t all the NBA says it is. The NBA is pulling the wool over the eyes of its fans and the only one that will suffer is the NBA itself. And as Richan said, who really cares? That’s the shame of it all

  3. RenzReport says:

    Honestly, as a sports fanatic and one who watches sports 24/7…I do care about the NBA potentially not having a season, just like when the MLB went on strike years ago.

    From a fan perspective, if we are without a season, I will in fact miss games. NCAAB does not intrigue me enough to watch mid-level/mid-conference match-ups. Plus NCAAB really doesn’t get entertaining until January-ish when league play begins. Without the NBA…what am I truly left with? NHL? I think not.

    Both the owners and players have made valid points in their arguments on what a new deal needs, but the only thing against the players is that they have no leverage and I would hate for the big name NBA players to dictate things for players on the lower end of the pay grade. There needs to be a season but what are the players willing to accept? That remains to be the question!

    Lastly, I need my youthful Wizards to have a season so that they can continue to get better and a playoff worthy team within the next 2 seasons 🙂

  4. dontbeskerritt says:

    I don’t agree with the players having no leverage. If they didn’t, why would the owners budge from their position? I think both sides see that they have plenty to lose, that’s why they are comprimising.

    • RenzReport says:

      This is not like NFL where both sides were making money and had a lot at risk, even the owners. Apparently, there is enough supporting documents that prove the NBA owners are losing money. Of course we know now the players shared 57% of revenue in the previous CBA and the players suggested going down to 53%. The owners countered that with 50% or 47%…whatever it was…

      But of course the owners are going to set their figures high hoping the players go for it, but they have a bottom number that will not go below. Maybe the owners have reached that point, but once they do…that’s it…what leverage would the players have? Shoot, some owners may save money by not losing money…who knows…

  5. arayegee says:

    The player’s leverage would be to go overseas and play ball there..or charge $ for these pickup games they play…either way, itll be televised and ppl will watch.

  6. RenzReport says:

    Players leverage? Overseas play? Name a top 10 player who has signed to play overseas? Kobe potentially maybe the only one to do so and even he is lightly treading that line to do so…If Kobe does decide to sign the deal in which he would play overseas…10 games in 40 days…wow, really, yes ESPN may follow his whereabouts, but no other player will get that type of exposure that he would command for those who have signed deals overseas.

    Next up, you mean to tell me you’re going to wake up early in the AM…we’re talking like 4am to watch a NBA play overseas? Negative!…

    Lastly, the pickup games have admission charges, that may just cover the facilities use. Sponsors aren’t heavy and take a lot to…typically, the individual athletes playing in the games are the sponsors along with their endorsers to provide uniforms. A had full of pickup games have televised on tv and on webcast but have not gained any to no attention…sorry, that’s not going to work, nor is that going to cover any of these players 4 to 5 figure salary’s PER WEEK!

    If the tough gets going, owners could always use NBADL caliber players to fill arena in front of WNBA size crowds and still return a couple of dollars in the meantime, although that’s highly unlikely.

    No matter what happens, when a deal does get done, the Owners will be the one’s to win, no matter what. If the players want to play, they have to follow the rules set forth by the Owners…it doesn’t matter who brings home the bacon, just now that’s you’re only getting your piece of the pie b/c of me-the Owner.

    So once again, the players have no leverage at all…and when the season is lost, who will be hurt more, the 32 owners or the 480 players?

  7. LBC says:

    As a fan of the NBA I agree with “nobody really cares”. For me though it is more related to the length of the NBA season. A team loses the first 10 games and everyone may be in an uproar, me however I say who cares they have 72 games left. Lose the first 10 of your football season and…. I am definitely more of a fan to players than an actual franchise unlike football. I support the Wizards of course.

    All of you make great points in regards to this awful lockout situation. I think renz last question will lead to the end of the lockout though. No season who loses more the players or owners? They can play overseas but will they make as much money as they do here. Also think about the money they receive from advertisements no NBA season means no money from a bunch of NBA commercials. I cannot blame the players if I was getting 57% and at some point you signed and agreed to those terms there is no way you can make go to a 50-50 split which I actually get 47%. That’s a 10% decrease and if each percent is 40 million?

    Richan stated the money is with the fans. I wish scoopbald’s tweets were in these comments. Money may be with the fans, but as scoopbald said we are not using that power in purchasing tickets so that we can have a say.

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