Photo courtesy of Keith Allison on Flickr. All rights reserved.
The NBA announced this week that the season had been resurrected following a tenative aggreement between the players and owners that is nearly a 50/50 split of basketball related incomes along with a slew of “b-sides” that slightly changed the previous collective bargaining agreement. The decision to finally have a season, which begins on Christmas Day, comes with a feeling of consternation. There are some that desperately missed the NBA, but the majority of sports fans didn’t miss the doldrums of an early season. Including this afficianado.
When it comes to my sports persuasions, I’m a bit snooty. The NBA has always been a cesspool of arrogant man-children that care more about the highlight reel than “the team”. That’s not always a bad thing, but it doesn’t top my list of must-watch-television come mid-winter and beyond.
Of course the yankee in me loves football and hockey – while everything else just kind of gets in the way.
Bringing the conversation a bit closer to home, I’m a pro hockey fan living in a city where the other pro franchise gets the most attention.
I’ve learned to live in a zen-like state where I can embrace both sports vehemently because, well, I can. And maybe even moreso because I’m an Oklahoman (transplanted from Ohio). Supporting my local teams is something I learned as a young child. Why? Because it’s good for me, and it’s even better for my locality. So I’m done complaining about having to compete with the NBA in my own selfish world where I’d rather watch AHL hockey (yes, you read that right). I’m done badgering on people to make a choice. You can have your Kevin Durant and your Kevin Montgomery too. In fact, if it weren’t for the NBA becoming a major player in this city, the Edmonton Oilers may not have taken a second look at Oklahoma City. The burgeoning downtown scene was a deciding factor in choosing Oklahoma City as an affiliated landing spot. So I have love for the NBA for all the wrong reasons.
Going forward, does this help or hurt the Barons of the American Hockey League? To be perfectly honest, not having an NBA season certainly wasn’t helping, and adding 18,000 people on a twice weekly basis just might encourage more curious onlookers to support another local sports team. Article after article has highlighted the lost revenue for cities with no or even shortened NBA seasons (good NY Times read alert). And in some alterna-universe, the ho-hum activity activity downtown without Thunder basketball kept the “event” mentality away from the city save for huge Taylor Swift concerts.
So with the NBA comes a new hub of activity downtown, and hopefully some extension towards the Cox Center across the street. Understand that with the bad of not liking the NBA comes the ca-ching of the cash drawer that comes with channeling a major pro sports franchise. The Barons are anything but a minor league team in my heart, but they can’t sustain a decent attendance without some help. Thus the NBA becomes a blessing minus any real noticeable curse (oh, wait, except for parking).