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Occupy the Hardwood

Josette Thompson  Follow

Anyone who follows my posts knows that I'm an avid basketball fan, so even if you don't follow the sport, you've probably heard about this little playground fight called the NBA Lockout. Super rich owners and super rich players are squabbling over contract terms causing a little over a quarter of the season to go by with not a squeak to be heard on the hardwood. In fact, the NBA has cancelled games through December 15th and it's a possibility the entire season will be cancelled.

While I'm absolutely annoyed that I can't see my boys D. Wade, Mario Chalmers and Bron Bron (yes, that's right!) tear up the court, the issue is not salary cap or anything else, it's the thousands of businesses and Americans that are getting money taken out of their pockets. What will become of the NBA's brand image and fan base after the lockout ends? Will fans be sympathetic and understanding of the squabbling between million and billionaires while the country continues to experience pervasive unemployment? I wonder what the concession stand worker or stadium janitor thinks about the luxury tax issues?

It seems that the communications team at the NBA will need to do some serious triage to repair the NBA's image. After one of the most successful seasons where literally everyone and their grandmother was talking about the NBA and their love or hate for my boys (don't hate the players, hate the game) the Miami Heat, you would think the NBA would be doing everything possible to maintain that momentum and the excitement of fans who had previously walked away from the game. Now, instead of maintaining positive brand image, they'll be repairing it.

I'm all for fair negotiations and having people adequately compensated for the work they do, but come on! Maybe it's wrong to feel this way, but when that work is managing or playing a game you love and having the adoration of millions of fans and some serious scrilla in your pockets, I tend to be less sympathetic. So, my Christmas wish is to have the lockout end and have the players occupy the hardwood again, because nothing goes down better with eggnog than some good basketball! CJP

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