LOS ANGELES - NBA Commissioner David Stern has issued an NBA Lockout. The Collective Bargaining Agreement was tossed into the trash can along with yesterday's newspaper, KFC fast food bags, and the dozens of Starbucks cappuccinos, frappuccinos, and lattes.
Both sides, the owners and players, knew that the possibility of a lockout was looming on the horizon two years ago but neither party took it serious enough to sit down and iron out a settlement.
They were all just much too busy counting all of the money that the dedicated and devoted fans of the big round ball were tossing their way.
And so the negotiations between the rich as hell owners and the rich as hell players broke down.
Now, salary paychecks will not be in the mail. Health benefits will not be paid, some players may have to end up selling one of their five or six sports cars, and the fringe benefit of free basketball cards will be suspended.
Oh and the WAGS (wives and girlfriends of players) now might not get those diamond studded earrings, or gold encrusted bracelets, or pearl tongue studs that they had been promised.
And so the fans will now sit and watch as all the greedy parties concerned (owners and players, players and owners) can all try and come to an understanding on how to divide the humongous pie that basically was paid for and baked by the fans who pay lots of money so that someone like Kobe Bryant can earn a little over $300,000 per game.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: It does sound unbelievable, but you do the math. Kobe earns, or rather makes $25 million per year. The Lakers play 82 games per season. So take $25 million and divide it by 82 and you get $304,878 per game!!!]
And Mr. Bryant and his fellow NBA partners in bling have the nerve to tell their devoted basketball fans, those hard-working individuals who spend tons of their hard-earned money on way over-priced tickets, outrageous parking fees, $10 beers, $10 hot dogs, and a multitude of other expensive roundball commodities like bobblehead dolls, T-shirts, caps, jerseys, calendars, and even bras for the lovely ladies that they want MORE money?
In the words of Christopher Columbus "Simply A-MA-Zing." But no NBA player, with the one possible exception of Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs, who signs more autographs and shakes more fans hands than any other player, really seems to care one bit about what the fans think.
After all the fans are just the ones who are paying the players astronomical salaries like Bryant's $25 million per year, and Rashard Lewis of the Washington Nationals $22 million per year, and Boston's Kevin Garnett's measly $21 million per year.
Goodness gracious, how much money do some folks want? Or a better question would be how much money do some greedy individuals really need?
By comparison the average American teacher makes about $40,000 per year. And I dare say that not very many of them have generous Nike contracts, or McDonald's contracts, or make Gatorade commercials.
Sad to say the lockout will also affect employees who certainly cannot afford it, such as the team employees including the ticket takers, the ushers, the food and drink vendors, and even the cheerleaders whose pay is at the low end of the pay scale.
Los Angeles Lakers player Pau Gasol makes close to $19 million and he and fellow teammate Kobe Bryant are so concerned about their money situation dwindling down that the two have just enrolled in a UCLA Chinese language course and plan to travel to China and play on a Chinese professional team.
Other NBA stars have talked about playing in Spain, Lithuania, Croatia, Luxembourg, Czechoslovakia, Herzegovina, and even Guatemala.
One player who makes $16 million a year even had the unmitigated audacity to remark that he has a family to feed. Well maybe he can go on the Internet and ask his fans to send him $1 each to help him get by until the lockout is settled.
Another player who has more sense that most of his fellow players said that he is really embarrassed by the whole thing.
He asked that his name not be used but remarked that if he and all of the NBA players were not gifted enough and lucky enough to be playing professional basketball and making the outrageous amount of money that they are making what else would they be doing?
He paused for a moment and smiled. The 7-footer shook his head and very astutely answered his own question, "Most of us would probably be working as light bulb changers at Walmart."
In a non-related story. Michele Bachmann reportedly told Barbara Walters that Sarah Palin seems to think that just because she can stand out in the driving snow and pee while standing up that, that somehow makes her more qualified to be president than her.