Saturday, November 26, 2011
Now that the lockout is over and we all get to enjoy the NBA again, let's look at three groups who probably stand to gain the most from the shortened season.
1. NFL: As if the most popular league in America needed a win, the NFL had a monopoly on pro sports fans for several weeks (That's right hockey......we in the deep south don't view you as a pro sport). Not only did the NFL enjoy a lack of competing pro leagues, but they also earned some goodwill from fans who just witnessed them settling their own labor dispute involving far more money.... BEFORE any of the season was lost. The NBA has been #2 for a while, but had they cancelled an entire season I think baseball could have gained some ground. As it stands, the NBA allowed the NFL to continue to distance itself so much that it now feels like the peanut butter of pro sports leagues......no other food (league) is even close.
2. NCAA BASKETBALL: I have found myself watching more college basketball earlier this year to get my hoops fix. I love the game, but normally I don't get too into the season until around February. With no Rockets games on I have found myself watching more November college games than I can ever remember. The NCAA boon isn't over yet. NBA games still won't start for several weeks and I could see a lot of fans gearing up for the shortened season by tuning into the upcoming BIG 10/ACC challenge and other great NCAA games in the next few weeks. If nothing else maybe the NBA lockout will cause some of us to be able to fill out a much more informed bracket come March (and maybe I can finally beat my wife who picks based on color, mascot, and/or religious affiliation).
3. NBA VETERANS: The obvious reason these guys win is that they don't have to put their aging knees through 82 games. Think Kobe, Garnett, or Carmelo is not excited for a shortened season? I'm almost convinced that little midget Fisher was working for Kobe to prolong the lockout and guarantee him the best shot at one last ring. The less obvious benefit to the veterans is that they don't NEED a full season of marketability. Kobe, Lebron, Carmelo these are names recognized around the world. Younger players like Love, Durant, and Rose are entering their primes and trying to take some of the spotlight from the "old guard". A shortened season favors NBA veterans because they already have plenty of experience and they will have fresher legs come playoff time.
Obviously the biggest winners are the fans who get to see their teams play again, but I think these three groups benefited most from the lockout. Should be a fun whirlwind of free agency before we get back to the games. Can't wait......and oh yeah.....Go Rockets.