NBA Lockout…… OVER!

November 29, 2011


After 149 days of tireless back-and-forth arguing between the NBA Player’s Union and the owners, an agreement has finally been made to end the lockout. The season will begin on December 25th, and from there a 66 game season will take place.


The reason why the lockout began was simple: since the last Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in 2005, the league was losing more than $300 million a year, with 22 out of the 30 teams not being profitable. Looking at the NBA like any other business entity, how could things possibly remain the same if this was the case; something needed to change. The last CBA in 2005 stated that there would be a 57-43% split in Basketball Related Income (BRI) between the players and the owners, respectively. However, that deal was set to expire in 2011. In order to avoid a lockout, the two sides began to meet in early 2011 to try to resolve this issue. However, every proposal one side brought, the other quickly refuted, and countered. This led to the lockout, which began on July 1, 2011. After months of negotiations, both sides finally came to an agreement on November 26, 2011. In the new deal, both sides agreed to allocate 51.2 percent of BRI to the players, and 49.8 percent to the owners. This new deal is definitely going to help improve the situation for the owners, while the players will still receive ridiculous sums of money.

This issue can be tied into two themes we discussed in class. First, to Rawls’ concept of inequality and fairness. According to Rawls, in order for freedom and equality to exist, there must be fairness. Looking at the previous CBA, there was definitely no fairness and, therefore, no equality. Since 2005, players have been making huge sums of money while the owners have continuously been losing money. How could any business survive when one side is profitable and the other is not? The NBA, like any other business, was forced to make a change.

This case can also be applied to Rousseau’s concern over the introduction of property. One distinction people commonly bring up is the difference between professional athletics and collegiate athletics. The difference is simple: money. In college, players do not receive any salaries; they play for the love of the game. In the NBA, however, players are only concerned about the amount of money they are making. They don’t play for the sheer fun of the game anymore. As Rousseau argues, once property is introduced to society, power, self-love, and social comparison exist. He goes on to explain that property allows for the exploitation, domination, and, ultimately, corruption of human nature as a whole. This analogy fits perfectly with Rousseau’s point of view. If money (the property) was not introduced to professional sports, then perhaps the players would be playing for the love of the game like college players, and thus lockouts would be avoided. However, I know that this is not a possibility. But what are the other options? What can be done to avoid future lockouts? Finally, whose side does everyone agree with – the players or the owners?



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7 Comments on “NBA Lockout…… OVER!”

  1. benjishanus Says:

    The fact of the matter is that NBA owners are billionaires and NBA players make more money on an average than any other professional athletes in this country. That being said, I’m not on anyones side. Rather, for 149 days, I was bitter towards both sides considering how greedy they were each acting. I get that at some point it is more about making a statement and desiring to be treated fairly, however, the fact that this last for five months and proceeded to both cut into and shorten the season makes me very disappointed.

    Do I blame one side more than the other? I tend to blame the owners more, just due to how little they were willing to budge for so long and the ultimatums they were giving the players union. However, in fairness, I really didn’t know enough of the specific labor details to form a fair assessment. Having said that, I put each side at fault for being extremely greedy and taking far too long to compromise.

    Unfortunately, I’m skeptical regarding any realistic solutions to avoid future lockouts. The world we live in changes every year, and along with those changes arise new points of conflict and disagreement. At the end of the day, it is only a matter of time until the next labor dispute. Whether it is 10 years or 40 years down the road, it is bound to happen eventually.

  2. JustinMandeltort Says:

    The past two, recent lockouts have been a nightmare for owners, players and most importantly the fans (NBA and NFL). Both of these leagues have been in the midst of some of its most popular seasons, especially in the NBA. I feel that more things need to be done to prevent future lockouts from happening. This is vital, because as we have seen lockouts have decreased popularity of respective leagues and has created shortened seasons and training camps. What needs to be done is less, last minute discussions when both sides know the current deal is up. The players union and the owners need to start talks and gradually coming towards a deal well before the current deal is up. Waiting until the last minute will never work, like we have seen in both the NBA and NFL. The future for both of these popular leagues, both domestically and internationally, looks good at this point, but better prevention towards lockouts needs to be done well before the agreement is up.

    I believe that honestly neither side got the better deal in this agreement. I feel that both sides gave up some things, but both sides got some of the things they wanted. Both the players and owners moving forward will be happy with what they got. The players got more of the money, which is something they wanted, no reason for them to complain about that. The owners got some of their power back which was a huge sticking point for that. Their biggest win in this agreement has to bee the amnesty clause, which means they can cut someone off their roster without taking a salary hit. Teams can cut players with big contracts that haven’t; lived up to the hype. Teams can cut these players and clear a lot of cap space, yet they will still have to pay them off the books. I think both sides did well in the agreement and now its time to play some basketball.

  3. bbarocas Says:

    To answer your question of any other options, I do not think that there are many. This biggest problem here is that while the NBA owners certainly were losing money and needing to get some of the revenue and power shifted back over to their side, the players were not going to just give it all up. This goes back to Rousseau’s issue of property. The NBA players had many great benefits from the old CBA, and once people have something it is extremely difficult to take it away from them. The great game of basketball was becoming completely corrupted by monetary issues, something that is very unfortunate. But in the world we live in basketball is in fact a business just like everything else. It will be very hard to avoid lockouts in the future, however now that the CBA is more balanced, the next bargaining session should not require nearly as much work. This was a unique session because the owners realized exactly how much they were losing over the last ten years. The balance of power truly lied with the players and the owners knew that they had to take at least some of it back. In the fight of “billionaires vs. millionaires” both sides had to make some concessions and that is never easy to do. It is hard to say that I was on anyone’s side because I really was just so frustrated with the situation. I was upset with both sides for their inability to come to an agreement, but I saw that they continued to meet for long hours and work hard. By the end I think I was siding more with the players because I saw how much the owners were trying to take, and that they were not willing to make any key concessions to give the players a reason to accept a deal. I think that the owners eventually realized this, and there willingness to give the players back some of the things that they were trying to take away is what helped the lockout. I am just glad that now all the lockout talk is over and we can finally move on to the 2011-12 NBA season.

  4. #jasonschwartz Says:

    You bring up an interesting point in connecting the players issues with money to Rousseau’s theory’s of property. However, I am in disagreement with your reasons for the motivational force behind each players salaries. You connect this issue of motivation on a professional level to the motivation of a college athlete nicely. However, the real problem with expected salaries doesn’t lie within the difference between college and professional but rather in the salary differential between professional athletes as a whole. Take football for example. The players of the sport each make around a million dollars per year in their salary, with their stars earning a salary around 15 million.

    When athletes from basketball and other sports see this, they expect that if they play at an equal level professionally, that they should be rewarded. However, the issue is that basketball doesn’t produce as much revenue as football does and thus, basketball teams cannot afford to pay their players as much. As a result, there is a huge difference in players and managers salaries expectations.

  5. bmschmid Says:

    The NBA Lockout pushed the standard 82 game season into a shortened 66 game season which cannot be profitable for anyone. However, I must side with the owners on this CBA. It is a startling fact “the league was losing more than $300 million a year, with 22 out of the 30 teams not being profitable.”: Owning an NBA franchise is a business, no matter how you break it down and it is unimaginable to think that in a league such as the prestigious NBA, that only 8 (or roughly 26%) of the owners turn a profit. Many small market team and their owners such as the Charlotte Bobcats’s owner the legendary Michael Jordan did not want the season to happen because financial it would not be beneficial for him. The owners got a bad deal in the last CBA and a bump up in BRI from 43% to 49.8% is a plus.

    Lockouts in major sports are almost unavoidable. The CBA is made up everything that the owners and the players need to agree upon like steroid testing and laws of the game, but it always boils down to money. Everytime. Its a shame that the passion that college players have for their sport is not reciprocated in the pros due to many factors one being money predominantly.

    A CBA is never going to be considered fair. They’re are always going to be winners and losers at the end of the day. Sometimes, both sides lose in the short term usually when their is no season, but in the long term one side will get the short end of the stick. Speaking about equality, the NBA is another example of a league that provides an uneven playing field among organizations. Look at the Big market teams (LA Lakers, Miami Heat, NY Knicks) verse some of the small market team like (Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks). Results speak for themselves.

  6. goldman13 Says:

    I think your connection between the NBA lockout and Rousseau is extremely interesting. Rousseau, as you explain, argues that the introduction of property into society gives rise to “exploitation, domination, and, ultimately, corruption of human nature.” Most people view property as the things that they are on possession of, for example, money, cars, jobs, clothing etc. However, what makes this particular case interesting is the NBA team owners and the athletes were in a huge disagreement about material that neither of them owned. They were fighting over property rights for future profits and bonuses, and rightfully so.

    However, i think your evaluation of Rawls is biased in that there are still people who think the agreement is unfair. From the vantage point of normal civilians like us, NBA players make exorbitant amounts of money and can surely relinquish some of their capital gains to ease the troubles of owners and organizations. However, to them, they shouldn’t have to give up money in order to help out owners, who, in their opinion, are at fault for not running a successful business. Rawls might still believe that this situation is unfair.


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