NBA czar/emperor David Stern has canceled the first two weeks of the regular season — with perhaps the entire season in jeopardy — which means two things:
1. LeBron James will wake up tomorrow and have the same life he had before he woke up today — a few personal problems, no NBA titles.
2. This fall, if he wants to play basketball, LeBron might have to take his talents to the south of France.
Once again, we are faced with a preposterous labor-management divide in an industry that pays out weekly employee salaries with more zeroes than a Justin Verlander box score. Or, as comedian Chris Rock used to say, “Shaq is rich, the white man that signs his check is wealthy.”
The NBA produces $4 billion annually in revenue, but the owners says they’re losing several hundred million a year. That’s some BAD ownership. How many businesses in America generate $114,155 every 15 minutes of every day and lose money? Heck, a Geico caveman could operate an NBA franchise in the black.
Of course, in regard to the NBA bleeding red, we must trust Stern on this one, though to be honest with you, the commissioner has never found a fact he will not twist.
Here’s a fact for you:
This is the second work stoppage/truncated season in the last 14 years on Stern’s watch. So I guess he’s not exactly Oliver Wendell Holmes-meets-Samuel Gompers.
(As a rule, Stern loves to control the message, and he’ll muzzle the messenger if he doesn’t care for him. In 1996, TNT wanted to bring me on for regular spots on its NBA studio show; the NBA had announcer approval and Stern’s office vetoed my hire. Apparently, the league didn’t believe I thought the NBA was fan-tastic enough. It’s interesting: Latrell Sprewell could choke his coach, the Pacers and Pistons could spark a massive brawl between players and fans, Gilbert Arenas and Jarvis Crittenton could draw guns in the Wizards’ locker room and referee Tim Donaghy could bet on games he officiated, but if I made jokes on-air about Shaquille O’Neal’s shoe size, THE WHOLE DARN ENTERPRISE COULD BE BROUGHT TO ITS KNEES.)
Now, I don’t know how this labor dispute is going to play out — and I won’t bore you with luxury-tax issues and the like — but I understand the players supposedly are getting restless.
Just the other day, Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire said, “We can’t just sit around and not do anything.”
Sure they can.
Actually, best I can tell, NBA types spend most of their down time getting tatted up, playing “Call of Duty: Black Ops” and courting Kardashians.
(I hate to interrupt myself again, but what I’m about to tell you is amazing. As a poker player, I often use online poker calculators that allow you to run simulated hands and figure out the odds of different outcomes. So I went to one of those sites to check on NBA player/Kardashian nuptial chances. There are three Kardashian sisters and 360 NBA players, and as it turns out, the odds of two Kardashian sisters being married to two different NBA players at the same time: One in 6½. Unbelievable!)
Okay, this is what Stoudemire also said, “We’ve got to start our own league.” That’s right — a players’ league.
You know, before I plopped down professionally on the couch, I used to toil away in food-service jobs – busboy, dishwasher, counterman, waiter. What if everyone working at Burger King decided to rip off the paper hats, screw the Whopper and open up their own restaurant? How would that work?
So Amare, let me ask you this, in regard to a players’ league:
Who pays the players?
Where are the games?
Do you have a lucrative TV deal?
(Don’t forget health insurance!!!)
Anyway, I assume the NBA will be open for business again soon; I know I’m saving up $272 for two Lakers nosebleed seats at Staples Center.
Q. When the NFL moved kickoffs five yards closer to the goal line, did your wife Toni complain when you moved your La-Z-Boy five feet closer to the TV? (Tom Wroblewski; Milwaukee)
A. No, because it put me five yards closer to the sidewalk.
Q. As a Yankees fan, I was just wondering whether any baseball games were still being broadcast. (Bill Pollack; Niskayuna, N.Y.)
A. Ten bits, no waiting for this wry soul.
Q. When Ohio State faced Miami last month, any truth to the rumor that at one time they were discussing playing the game with absolutely no rules being enforced? (Scott Wittliff; Mukwonago, Wis.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Q. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder finally managed to scrape together enough dough for a $70 million yacht. Do you think he should name it the SS Albert Haynesworth? (Marty Chase; Chevy Chase)
A. Pay this young fella, too.
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