They say we're supposed to be concerned about the NBA possibly canceling the first few weeks of the regular season.
I'm not concerned.
"I could not be less concerned," says Amelia Anderson, an unemployed secretary as she is about to enter the Workforce Central Florida building in hopes that she might be able to finally find a job. "I'm just trying to figure out a way to pay my rent and my light bill."
Says Joe Chaney, who was recently laid off from his job building commercial swimming pools: "Man, I don't have time to worry about how the NBA owners and players are going to split up all their millions. I'm trying to feed my kids."
Go ahead, NBA, and cancel the first few weeks of the regular season.
Better yet, go ahead and cancel the whole damn thing.
Knock yourselves out.
Lock yourselves out.
Do us a favor.
Do yourselves a favor.
Take the year off so you will comprehend what everyone on God's green earth should comprehend at one time or another: That in the grand scheme of things, we just aren't that important.
David Stern and LeBron James and the rest of the smug, arrogant, rich, pampered, greedy, spoiled, self-indulgent NBA needs to learn its lesson. And the lesson is this: America has had it with sports leagues and their so-called fiscal problems.
In this economic climate, the NBA labor dispute is a disgusting affront to those who have real jobs or, worse, have lost real jobs. The owners and players can take their hard salary cap and luxury tax and revenue sharing and decertification and Gilbert Arenas' $20 million-a-year contract and shove 'em all where the sun in South Beach don't shine.
If I've written this once, I've written it a hundred times: Sports leagues are sadly mistaken if they think they matter in some meaningful way. Athletes, owners and, yes, media members have this delusional belief that American life revolves around professional sports. Little do they know that sports are just a minor diversion in most people's lives; a 30-second conversation in the office break room while you're waiting for the coffee to finish brewing. If you think basketball and baseball are truly important, I suggest you watch the local 6 o'clock news where sports gets a minute or two — a mere fraction of the time devoted to weather.
Do Commissioner Stern and his self-important league really think Orlando fans are going to truly suffer if they can't watch Game 22 of the regular season against Sacramento? Let me tell you how America will respond if there's no NBA on TV: CLICK! … "Look, Honey, it's an old Andy Griffith rerun! And it's the one where Aunt Bee makes her awful homemade pickles. This is one of my favorites!"
The NBA needs to realize it is not part of the national consciousness like the NFL. I know many sports fans who build their weekends around NFL Sunday afternoons; I know of no sports fans who build their schedule around NBA Tuesday nights.
If the NBA cancels its season, it can count on losing a significant portion of its customers forever. Fans will learn they don't need to spend $250 for an authentic Dwight Howard jersey. They will learn they don't need to spend $8 for an arena beer. They will learn they don't need to spend $400 for a family of four to attend the Heat-Kings game. They will learn that taking the family bowling is actually cheaper – and just as much fun. They will learn that teaching your kid to throw a Frisbee on a Sunday afternoon is much more satisfying than sitting in front of the TV on a Sunday afternoon and explaining to your kid why a stiff like Darko Milicic makes $5 million a year.
Besides, we have football season, bowl games and NFL playoffs to tide us over until February. And then we have the Daytona 500, the Masters and March Madness. And then baseball starts again. And then, before you know it, it'll be football season again.
Go ahead and cancel the season, NBA.
See if we care.
Joe Chaney, the unemployed pool builder, says it best as he walks into the Workforce Central Florida building.
"I've lost 30 or 40 pounds in the last four months because of stress from not being able to find a job," he says. "You think I'm worried about the NBA?"
firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at BianchiWrites. Listen to his radio show every weekday from 6 to 9 a.m. on 740-AM.
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