Tonight was supposed to be the opening tip-off of the 2011-12 NBA season. Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs were set to tip off against Chris Rose and the Chicago Bulls, the Rockets were supposed to take on the Jazz, and a quintessential old school vs. new school match up was set in Los Angeles when one of my new favorite teams, the Oklahoma City Thunder, were to try and convince Kobe and Derek Fisher they’re too old to ball.
The NBA was set to continue riding the sport’s highest popularity since the end of the Jordan era. ARE Kobe and the Lakers too old? Can the Heat win not 5…not 6….not 7…but one NBA championship? Are the Knicks ready to bring basketball back to the newly renovated garden?
As a huge basketball fan, I’m sincerely disappointed I’m not watching basketball right now. While both parties bicker back and forth while simultaneously halting paychecks for all, Mark Cuban knows even if there’s not an NBA season for the next ten years he can light up a cuban of his own – with one of his 10 million $100 bills. Heck even role players like Brad Miller and Antonio Daniels know regardless of what happens their kids can still attend any college they can think of.
But not the arena employees. Not the sanitation worker who works his butt off to make $9 an hour to support his family. The vendor who gives you your $10 beer and $6 hot dog? He’s looking for work. She’s living paycheck to paycheck.
No one wins from this lockout. David Stern said the players are losing 170 million dollars every two weeks of canceled games. The owners are probably losing more, and the fans are losing the right to be fans.
Every year I mark my calendar for opening tip-off. Every year I tell myself, “Hey, maybe they can pull off a miracle.” Being a Knicks fan you have to think that way because we’ve flat out sucked for 10 years. From 2002 until last year, this was the only week I could look at my team and think maybe this game has playoff implications.
But even if the Knicks lose 82 games this season, they’ll be in first place on opening night. It’s the one time of year where everyone is equal. The Timberwolves have the same pride as the Lakers, and the Royals the same as the Yankees. As a basketball fan, I feel I have a right to that sense of pride.
Will there be an opening night this year? I hope so. I hope the two sides can work out a deal soon. I mean really…
Don’t we pay you guys enough already?