The History Behind The NBA Lockout
It’s this winter’s hottest sports topic: the NBA Lockout. Since the start of the lockout on July 1st of 2011, more headaches have been brought up, and less progress has been made. The main dividing issue between the players (NBPA) and the owners, like many disputes in the workplace, is the payment. Specifically, the players want a bigger revenue share and want to restructure the salary cap. Basically, the old Collective Bargaining Agreement from the ‘98-99 lockout was set to expire on June 30, 2005, so the players and owners began to work on a new agreement. From the beginning, there were several issues including the age limit for rookies, strengthening drug test programs, and the length of long-term contracts. Both sides tentatively reached an agreement till June 30, 2005, and the players were guaranteed 57% of Basketball-Related Income. Unfortunately, a year after signed the deal, eight owners signed a petition on the grounds that the Basketball Economic system was built for larger market teams, and push out the smaller market teams. In early 2011, the NBA claimed that it was losing over $300 million a year (since technically 22 of 30 teams were losing profit last season). So the solution was to reduce the players salary by 40% and institute a hard salary cap at $45 million versus a soft cap at $58 million. The NBPA filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the league of negotiating in bad faith and not providing crucial financial data, and repeated to lock out the players. So the Union considered decertification in order to file an anti-trust suit with the NBA. This brings us to the current date, in which the league could not reach an agreement, and the proposal of an anti-trust suit have filed in multiple states against the NBA. Players are playing in pick up games and amateur leagues, and well as going over seas. This hasn’t stopped Lebron from doing commercials or any of the shoe companies from advertising using the NBA’s name during the lockout.
Long story short: David Stern and a majority of the owners want to decrease the players salary on a ‘take it or leave it’ mentality, and the players want to be paid correctly and get adequate rights. It seems like the NBA Lockout is a simple reflection of workers rights versus large companies and corporations. Occupy Wall Street aren’t the only unemployed Americans who should be protesting.