A true NBA fan’s worst fears were realized late this evening as David Stern announced that the League will officially cancel its first two weeks of regular season play. This news is especially crushing after optimism had begun to mount following in-depth back-to-back last minute meetings to try to salvage the season. But after over six hours of discussions the sides emerged, apparently as far apart as ever, with the remainder of the season hanging in the balance.
The truth of the matter is that the NBA has already tarnished its brand with all of this lockout business, and both sides of the negotiations should feel ashamed and embarrassed; both that they didn’t attack this matter head on earlier (all summer) to avoid any extended stoppage, and that they couldn’t collectively come to terms in order to save the season for their fans. So even if all issues were solved shortly, and the first two weeks of the season are all that is lost (extremely doubtful at this rate) some fans will still feel isolated from the League and inevitably lost. Many view the NBA as a group of over-paid and under-educated individuals to begin with, and any sort of work stoppage doesn’t help to bolster their image. The arrogance and lack of urgency that seems to have been displayed all summer by League personnel doesn’t sit well either. Thus the longer the lockout lasts, the more fans will become frustrated and disinterested; the last thing the League needs after a steady rise in popularity over the past several seasons.
Despite this, the NBA is not the NFL'; America is not going to be in an uproar if some weeks of the season are missed. Hell, half of so-called “NBA fans” don’t even watch the League until its second season, the Playoffs, start. So who the League is really cheating the most by this lockout is its true fans; the ones who actually care about the first game, or month for that matter. Since it is clear no one on either side of the negotiations is taking them into account, maybe those fans should do the same, and pay the League no mind, at least until the season starts and we begin to pick up the pieces.