Just in case you haven’t heard it because you’re still in a food coma from this past Thursday’s festivities, you might be interested to know that the NBA lockout is officially over and the 2011-2012 season is tentatively scheduled to begin Christmas Day.While we were all out spending Black Friday vegging on our couches or shoving and pepper spraying the living daylights out of each other, the owners backed down from some of their more extreme demands, the players still gave up a lot of major concessions themselves and the end result is a 66-game season.
Obviously, this is great news for many sports fans. The NBA has long been one of, if not THE sports highlight of Christmas Day so that’s a great opening day and this way we avoid the first full cancellation of a major sports season since the NHL in 2004-2005. Also, as great as Division I NCAA basketball is, it’s hard to compete with the NBA for quality basketball and that includes the European and Chinese leagues players like Deron Williams fled to during the lockout.
But let’s be honest, given how stubborn both owners and players have been until now, this wasn’t quite just about the two sides finally seeing eye to eye. I’m willing to bet that a major motivation for this sudden surprise deal is just how quickly the NBA’s fallen off sports fans’ radars since the lockout began.
With a terrific MLB postseason, the NFL having averted its own lost season a month before the games it was supposed to start cancelling took place and NHL teams hogging all the attention in Los Angeles, Detroit, New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Washington, Denver, Dallas and Philadelphia, there haven’t really been too many reasons to wait around for the NBA. At least for now the Lions are playoff contenders and the Red Wings just halted a 10-game winning streak by the defending Stanley Cup champions in a nationally televised Black Friday extravaganza. Who needs the Pistons when every other team in Detroit has been above .500 for months?
Still, the more sporting options the better. Welcome back, NBA. I’m still going to be watching hockey more often though.