Some NBA Fans Need Winning Over After Lockout
Although NBA players and owners reached a tentative agreement late Saturday night after a 15-hour meeting that ends a 149-day lockout, some fans’ patience has been pushed too far to feel celebratory.
Fred Klein, 77, who attended every New York Knicks opener since 1959, told The New York Post that he’s skipping this year’s Christmas Day opener in favor of a cruise to the Bahamas.
“It’s the most ridiculous thing I saw in my life,” Klein said, the paper reported. “They make so much money. It’s childish.”
Perhaps this may be the only issue some Knicks fans and Boston Celtics fans ever agree on. Workers at the TD Garden that depend on Celtics games in order to pay bills, told The Boston Globe they felt bitter after watching multimillionaires complain about their contract.
Jim Taggart, a manager of a restaurant near the TD Garden, told the paper, “From a business standpoint, it’s a big deal. We pay our mortgages depending on what happens at the Garden.Like all the businesses in this area, it rises and falls on what happens at the Garden.’’
Owners and players reached a tentative new labor deal early Saturday, one they expect will be ratified in time to start the season with a December 25 triple-header.
It comes at a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars for both sides, on top of the fans and jobs that were lost during the stalemate. And it leaves the NBA with its second shortened season, with the hope of getting in 66 games instead of a full 82-game schedule.
Owners relented slightly on their previous insistence that players receive no more than 50 percent of basketball-related income after they were guaranteed 57 percent in the old collective bargaining agreement. The target is still a 50-50 split, but with a band from 49 percent to 51 percent that gives the players a better chance of reaching the highest limit than previously proposed.
The lockout isn't quite over, but it appears the NBA's nuclear winter will be avoided.
The lockout drew so much attention, even President Obama gave a thumbs-up when told about the tentative settlement after he finished playing basketball at Fort McNair in Washington on Saturday morning.
To be sure, not all basketball fans are un-welcoming to news of the abbreviated season.
Knicks fan Spike Lee, the director, tweeted, “WAKE UP ORANGE AND BLUE. NEW YAWK KNICKERBOCKERS ARE BACK. GONNA PRACTICE SOME SCREAMING. MY VOCAL CORDS ARE OUT OF SHAPE. I WILL BE READY XMAS.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.