Back in Business: 2011 NBA Lockout finally comes to an end

Jelani Scott ‘12 | Staff Writer

Were you wondering why some of your favorite NBA players had been sitting at home these past few months? No, it’s not because they’re lazy; it’s because their league had been shut down due to a lockout that began on July 1, after the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expired. This was the third Lockout in NBA history (‘95; ‘98-’99) and it lasted 149 days. It seemed that things would only get worse, as games had been cancelled through December 15th. However, on November 26th, after a 15 hour meeting between the NBA and player reps in New York, a tentative agreement was reached between the sides on a new CBA. These issues didn’t start overnight like some people may think; they were actually six years in the making.

In 2005, the NBA and the players’ union agreed to a new CBA after the 1999 agreement expired. A CBA is a legal contract between the league and the Players Association that determines the way business operates. In February of 2009, NBA commissioner David Stern and executive director of the players’ union Billy Hunter appeared at a news conference to announce that both parties were set to reopen talks on the CBA, two years before it expired. On August 5th, after a 3 ½-hour meeting between a group of 10 owners and player representatives, the NBA decided that a new deal needed to be created for the 2011-2012 season. On January 29th, 2010, the union received a proposal from the NBA that called for a significant financial change that revolved around players’ salaries and in February, following a two-day meeting, the union declined the proposal. On July 2nd, the union issued a counter proposal but it also failed. Following a series of failed proposals, the NBA officially locked its players out on June 1st, putting doubt in the minds of fans everywhere that there wouldn’t be a season.

During the near five month long dispute, 69 players had gone to play overseas in places like Turkey, China, and Israel, leaving many fans disgruntled. During the lockout, I was able to ask a couple students what their opinions were. When asked “How do you feel about the Lockout?”, Henry Small ‘13 said, “I feel that the players, as far as the revenue split [goes], are being greedy because they are so used to being handed a bigger piece of the revenue that once they are handed something slightly smaller than what they previously had, they are upset. Personally, if my boss wanted to give me and my co-workers 50% of a multi-[billion] dollar industry, I would take it.” Brandon Nelson ’12 said he felt that “the players are making enough money as it is, so they should just go out there and play.” Julian Hammett ‘12 thought that the owners were being “very stingy,” and that the players do deserve more money because “they are the ones playing [and] putting their bodies on the line while the owners sit in the press box, eating and drinking like modern-day Romans at a Gladiator match.”

After months of teams and cities losing money, a 50/50 revenue split, proposed and denied frequently during the stoppage, was finally agreed upon. A new 10-year CBA was created and the sides have an option to opt out after Year 6. It’s been confirmed that free agency will begin on December 9th and there will be a 66-game season, beginning on December 25th. The three marquee games are NY Knicks vs. Boston Celtics, L.A. Lakers vs. Chicago Bulls, and Miami Heat vs. the defending champion, Dallas Mavericks. So dust off your jerseys, open your gifts early, and tune in on Christmas Day because the NBA is finally back!

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