Before I get to the NBA lockout, a quick digression: Emma, I really, really hope you're being sarcastic when you mention the "refreshing fundamentals" of college basketball. Because, quite frankly, there's nothing refreshingly fundamental about the campus game. On the whole, college players have lousy fundamentals. Because they're young. Inexperienced. Still growing physically, and still learning how to play basketball. In terms of sheer practiced basketball skill, college players do not—cannot—compare to their professional counterparts, who, you know, do this for a living. Really, the myth of superior college fundamentals belongs in history's dustbin, alongside the Soviet Union and Baby on Board stickers. And when you do see a pro player who isn't fundamentally sound—cough LeBron James in the post cough—it's almost always because said player is athletic enough to: (a) flaunt convention; (b) be effective anyway. Are we supposed to fault a David Foster Wallace essay because it breaks all the rules of freshman comp?
Phew. I feel better already. Back to the topic at hand. The lockout will cost the NBA some short-term money. Quite a bit, actually. Which is never good. Still, I doubt it will hurt the league in any lasting or meaningful way, because I don't think fans will be turned off. Whenever sports leagues miss time due to labor-management disputes, columnists and commentators like to huff and puff about greed and betrayal and eroding goodwill. Color me dubious. Pro basketball isn't a serious girlfriend dumping us for a year to go find herself hiking the mountains of Spain—read: sleeping with guys who look like Cristiano Ronaldo—only to then come back heartbroken, overly tan and begging for a second chance. Pro basketball is just an annual entertainment product. Like a line of mystery books, a movie franchise, a television series. Or like an iPhone. Think about it. The iPhone 5 isn't coming out as soon as some people would like. Does that make the same people less likely to eventually purchase one? I doubt it. When basketball returns—in three months or next fall—so will basketball fans. Even the ones who prefer the—ahem—fundamentals of the college game.
Jake, will you have a hard time forgiving Stern, Cubes, LeBron and the rest of the Association if the lockout nixes the season? Or will you tune in as soon as there's some tunin' in to be done?