President Barack Obama, the first Baller in Chief, said two weeks ago that he was “a little heartbroken” about the NBA lockout. And, while making an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Obama again described the situation as “heartbreaking,” urging the NBA to follow the lead of the NFL and resolve its labor dispute before causing irreparable damage to the league.
The NBA and the players’ union have been unable to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, bickering over how to split nearly $4 billion in revenues and create an effective salary system. Leno asked Obama if he felt the owners or players were at fault for the impasse and Obama declined to pick a side.
Obama replied, “Well, look, if you look at the NFL, they were able to settle theirs…And I think they understood. Players were making millions of dollars. Owners, some of us are worth billions of dollars. We should be able to figure out how to split a $9-billion-pot so that our fans, who are allowing us to make all of this money, can actually have a good season. And I think the owners and the basketball players need to think the same way.”
The first two weeks of the regular season have already been canceled and another round of games are expected to be eliminated this week. Obama said that he is “concerned” that the NBA could lose the entire season.
“They need to remind themselves that the reason they are so successful is because a whole bunch of folks out there love basketball. Basketball has actually done well, but these types of lockouts take a long time to recover from.”
You can watch the video here.
Obama starts discussing the NBA lockout at the 5:30 mark.