Here we go again, the start of the weekend mail
Good job again, folks.
Here’s the start, tomorrow’s the finish and there’s still today to get stuff in by doing your thing right here.
Q: Hey Doug. Keep up the good work. Quick question for you: I know the players have the weekend to mull over the deal, and I really hope they come back with a counter-offer that's reasonable and each side breaks out the clothespins, puts them on their noses, and signs.
But if they don't: What in the world is going to happen with the 2012 NBA Draft?
(It had been a while...)
David T, Ottawa
A: I (heart) the Irregulars.
Q: Hey Doug. You're probably getting sick of hearing from me but I don't like studying and am much more interested in this lockout :) I could use someone else's name if you don't want to see mine anymore, haha.
I don't know if I have any questions for you this time but I found a thread that you might find interesting.
Basically Rick Barry bashes on both the players and Billy Hunter for not making a deal and he makes some very good points. I wish the league had someone with the sense he shows in this article. Maybe things would be different if he was an active player in the league, but his points are valid and I think most fans see things from his point of view.
Anyway, i thought you'd find this interesting and might comment on the story itself, if not my email.
Have a great weekend!
Brett F, Lethbridge
A: It’s a very interesting story with many fine points and I think you could find dozens of ex-players of all levels of fame who can’t quite understand why we are where we are today and who have logical points to make on a variety of issues.
Heck, you could find dozens of reporters who’ve covered this mess who can make equally valid points.
Trouble is, both sides have elected or hired the men they have elected and hired and it’s up to them to find an amenable deal for their constituents.
Q: Hi Doug. This is a two-part question which really popped into my mind while I was watching The Replacements with Keanu Reeves. If the NBA players where to proceed with decertification, can the NBA owners use replacement players?
I know how much you like lists, so what is your top 5 "feel good" sports movies (Fields of Dreams tops my list)
Thanks love the blog.
Pintoo S, Los Angeles
A: A move to decertify would throw everything into chaos and the courts that there is no way the league could do anything but be paralysed until the situation (think long anti-trust court battle) was solved. But also know that as soon as a decertification vote passes (and we are months and months and months from that) the union ceases to exist; the words “replacement players” become moot.
Well, if Hoosiers doesn’t top that list, there is no list, right?
And how about Rudy, Rocky, We Are Marshall and, oh, sure, Field of Dreams to round out a Top 5?
Have to be others, though, don’t there?
Q: Hey Doug. Love the blog. You made an interesting point today about the scant few players who actually live year-round in the city they play in. This begs the question, have there ever been any Raptors that have called this city home year round? Keep up the good work!
James H, Toronto
A: Year ‘round? No. There have been a couple over the years who’ve stayed in the May-June time period because they’ve had kids in school and a lot of players spend a lot of time coming back and forth in the summer to visit but to say “year ‘round” is a bit of a stretch. The one and only Rasho did have a place here he spent large chunks of the summer at but even he’d go away for long stretches.
Q: Hey Doug. Let's get your "Final Four" at this point in the NFL season. Who makes the AFC/NFC Final? Who wins those to go on to win the Superbowl? Does it look like a repeat year for Green Bay's videogame-like offence?
Andrew P, Toronto
A: You know me and predictions.
Spurs by 12.
But, sure, why not play along.
Forgetting their very average defence, the Packers simply have too much offence to be denied at least a spot in the conference final, don’t they? So why don’t we put them up against, say, the Giants in the conference final (don’t sleep on the Niners, though) and you can throw a blanket over about six or seven AFC teams today, can’t you? So why not think Baltimore and New England square off.
Q: Hi Doug. Not sure if this has been answered before, but what "qualifies" one for the position of Team Rep within the union? It seems that we are *mostly* discussing guys in deep reserve roles. Did they excel academically in their NCAA stints? Are they held in high esteem by their peers for intelligence? Or is this dog work that nobody else wants to do and is thrown to guys who have more of a vested interest given their shorter careers and lower salaries? With all the movement of these second- and third-tier players (and changing of Team Reps), how does the union have any continuity at the membership rank?
Sean S, Toronto
A: Now, I preface this by saying I’ve never actually been in the room when any team I’ve ever covered has chosen a player rep, and they exist in every sport.
But from talking to people who have, a lot of times it’s a matter of “okay, someone’s got to do it, as long as it’s easy I’ll handle it” and it’s generally some young and eager player who’ll take that on. And for most seasons it is entirely easy, maybe a couple of meetings a year, very few fires to put out and a relative piece of cake.
And I don’t think you can say they’re held in esteem as much as they are appreciated for doing what amounts to a thankless task.
Now, as with everything, there are exceptions and there are players who truly want to be involved in the process, of making sure CBAs are adhered to, who want to get involved in larger union issues but I’d submit they are in a big minority.
Mostly it’s people who volunteer, or are volunteered, who aren’t quite sure what they’re getting into.
Q: Hey Doug. Liked the 'Ali-Frazier' list of ying and yang athletes that seemed to be made for each other. I guess what struck me is that Jordan wasn't on the list, but in retrospect, was there anyone who could be called equal to him for the majority of his run?
Sure, he got the tail-end of Magic, but he was already claimed by Bird. Isiah? Major stretch. Shaq or the Admiral? Comparable in overall scope, but big men are a completely other set of warriors. Imagine if Kobe had come into the league 15 years earlier? That's Scary.
Sure, MJ had some big battles over the years with just about every player who could be called a bonafide star, but nothing, to me at least, stands out as Magic and Bird.
What do you think would've happened to MJ's legacy if he had had a true, legitimate 'G.O.A.T.' to square off against his entire career? Would it take away from Jordan's image as the most dominant player in NBA history or prove to increase his prestige to an even godlier level?
Andrew P, Toronto
A: You’re 100 per cent right, Jordan didn’t have a rival or a foil like Magic had Bird or Isiah had Magic or Russell had Wilt or Bird had Dominique or West had Cousy or Shaq had Hakeem and The Admiral.
But I do think Jordan’s overwhelming – and at times troubling – competitiveness and need to bury his opponent rather than simply beat him would have allowed him to dominate whoever. And it might have even enhanced his reputation had their been a legitimate challenger to his perch atop the game.
But what about this: What if he had someone nearly as strong-willed or close to him in talent to go against with everything on the line? Would he have succeeded? And if not, would he still be as revered today as one of the greatest of all time? I wonder and have often wondered.
Q: Hi Doug. I was reading an article recently on seven pro sports teams that are on "the brink of collapse". I was unsurprised to see a couple of the pucks teams there, but I was surprised that Minnesota, Sacramento and Indiana were #2,3,4 on the list. Minnesota maybe (it's hockey country) but Indiana?!? Wondered if you had any thoughts on that. Here's the link to the article if interested:
Sohail G, Collingwood
A: I did read that piece and think “brink of collapse” might have been a bit of hyperbole to create buzz and attract readers, the precise kind of headline-overstatement that drives me crazy.
Anyway, that said, there are concerns in Indiana where attendance is down, the team’s been average to below for years, the team doesn’t own the arena and there’s a disconnect between formerly loyal fans and a franchise that spent years lurching from one crisis to another.
But perhaps on “the brink of collapse” should have been “absolutely for sale” because, in the case of the Pacers at least, I don’t think they’re going anywhere.
Q: Hi Doug, Who can afford to go without pay in the long term? I imagine the owners can and if the season is cancelled, will be back in the same scenario come the summer and will the players eventually cave in?
Monty M, Toronto
A: If this gets to decertification and the loss of a season and the inherent court fights over anti-trust status, no one can even remotely predict what next summer will look like. Silly to even try but there is obviously no question about which group can more afford to lose a season of money. And everyone remotely connected with the game knows it.
Q: G'day Mr Smith, find myself wondering if there is change afoot among those that traditionally have patronized professional sport. Thinking back to the TOD's last work stoppage and the challenges that ensued (still) in filling the stadium seats and wondering if what we are really seeing is an emotional disconnect given that the obviousness of the fact that professional sports exists to generate revenue for itself has crossed the tipping point where it has become hard for the average fan to see the game for the business? Certainly yourself and others have spoken to this, but assuming for the moment that in fact this IS HAPPENING, how do you see any of the major leagues adjusting to the new reality? The blog has dealt with new technologies impact on how we entertain ourselves, and it would appear that 99% of us will continue to struggle to make ends meet all which leaves me wondering who will have the funding to drop $200/300 for an evening's entertainment.
As always thanks for what you do.
Doug T, Brantford
A: I think at many levels there is absolutely a disconnect between fans and teams in all sports that have priced themselves out of all sense of normalcy. Regular folk might possibly be able to get a game a year, if that and that’s a shame.
I guess the adjustment is that teams are trying to somehow reach out in other ways, through multi-media pushes that they hope connects them with average people on a regular basis, more charitable work in the community and by a push to take the game experience to fans at home through the web, their own broadcast networks and the like.
The struggle for people like yourselves and myself to attend games will only get worse – no one’s rolling back ticket prices to reasonable numbers any time soon – and the adjustments by teams are still unfolding.
Q: I've been meaning to ask this for the last 6 months....
Last year the referees where at the end of their agreement and correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought they extended the old one until a new CBA was reached. That way nothing was lost while they worked out a new one. I think you can see where I'm going with this?
Obviously they can't or they would have before games were canceled.
But why the hell can't they just extend the old CBA until they can hammer out a new one?
Forgive my profanity. No HOTH combined with the over coverage of the pucks is starting to make me a little stir crazy.
Marcus T, Newmarket
A: Um, I think you might be misremembering. The NBA and the referees agreed on a new five-year contract in September; all’s cool on that front.
And the problem with extending an old CBA is that the owners weren't going to operate under it, it was never a consideration.