Just a few weeks back it was a foregone conclusion there would be no NBA basketball for the 2011-2012 season. Friends and fans chimed in to tell me how much they hated the NBA and how greedy they thought the players were. Some of them even vowed to never watch the NBA again. Then a miracle happened. The owners and players came to an agreement and the season will start on Christmas day. Is it too late to win back the legion of fans that have been turned off by this bitter labor dispute?
Of course not, but first let's get the frustrating parts out of the way. The negotiating tactics of Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher were suspect. They implemented their strategies at the wrong time. David Stern completely underestimated the mindset of the NBA players. It's a weird mix of slightly oversensitive and slightly overconfident that lends itself to conflict. In the end his inability to effectively communicate with a younger generation was is undoing. The past is the past though so let's get back to basketball!
Some of you are stubborn with long memories (Scorpios probably) and think you're done with NBA basketball. You're not. As soon as you see an alley oop dunk from Blake "The Barbarian" Griffin on SportsCenter or catch a glimpse of Carmelo in the garden while channel surfing you'll be hooked again. The bitterness will subside and you'll get back to the way things were before the lockout.
The lockout was bad for the fans and negatively impacted the economy, but it's over now. The NBA is here. It's like having a date with Halle Berry and she shows up 2 months late. Sure she's a little tardy, but she still showed up in her favorite Victoria's Secret ensemble ready to hang out. What are you going to do? Say no, it's loo late? Let your bitterness get in the way of the greater good?
The NBA is still fantastic. Kobe Bryant vs. The MoHeatos is still must see TV. Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant are still filthy and Dirk Nowitzki still has a title to defend. The bad feelings don't go away overnight, but they go away. These are still the greatest athletes on the planet and people still want to be entertained. At least that's what the owners and players are betting on.