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Tuesday, Feb. 20
The Indiana Daily Student

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Column: Why I couldn’t care less about the NBA this year

Most years, I eagerly anticipate the start of the NBA season. This year, though, thanks to the lockout, early November came and went with no NBA action, and I hardly noticed or cared.

The lockout brought out the worst in a lot of people. Empty threats were bandied about by two sides, both already wealthy, squabbling about money.

Neither side seemed to know what it wanted as big- and small-market owners were at odds about demands, and some players hogged headlines with publicized escapes overseas.

Even Los Angeles Lakers point guard Derek Fisher, the players’ union president, was accused of conspiring with NBA Commissioner David Stern for a deal that was not reflective of the players’ best interests.

This circus went on long enough, and many fans, like myself, became resigned to the notion of no 2011-12 season, and that was fine. What has thus far been a compelling college season was already underway.

The brief offseason featured a respected league figure making a fool of himself.
Stern has been a model commissioner for many years, and had you asked me before the lockout, I would have placed his name in the same rarefied air reserved for Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue.

The worst move and last straw was his veto of a trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers. Though this move was technically within his power since the New Orleans Hornets are league-owned, a commissioner must remain impartial among all teams in his league.

Would no NBA season have been better than the truncated one with questionable characters we have now? No. Everyone involved with the league would have suffered financially, and fans who care only about basketball at its highest level would be left wanting.

The situation is what it is.

That said, several things could happen to help the NBA save face.

First, the league must sell the Hornets and end the threat of the league office interfering with team affairs. Former Hornet Jamal Mashburn, now a successful businessman, has expressed interest in ownership and would be an excellent potential buyer.

The league should also refrain from opening All-Star voting until closer to the event. Voting could be delayed to allow the on-court product to better develop and the most deserving players to be selected.

The most passionate fans would still vote regardless of when they first could, and a fun, high-quality All-Star game would go a long way toward repairing the league’s image.

This year might ultimately be defined, though, by who emerges as the champion.

Were a young, well-respected team win it all, the league would have an exciting, wholesome building block on which to reclaim its place among professional sports and make the fans care once more.

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