If the summer chess match between NFL owners and players indicated one thing, it’s that public perception is real. Public swaying plays a pivotal role in labor issues and it will do the same in the NBA’s current quagmire. That’s where the intentional and unintentional lobbying of players participating in Summer leagues and overseas explorations will benefit the NBA players.
While it currently lacks significance with the NFL kicking off and the threat of missed games being over two months away, at this very moment NBA players are winning the fans over with their summer ball exploits and lockout repressed desires to just play basketball.
Fans are not privy to what transpires behind the scenes of labor strifes, so decisions are typically based on what’s reported by the media. Regarding the NBA lockout, the public has only been fortunate to know that NBA players have agreed to concede to some owners demands and in light of the sides not being able to agree, players have begun to explore playing overseas if there’s a missed season.
In the mean time, many NBA players have taken to playing for free before fans in neighborhood rec centers far from the luxury arenas that fans have become accustomed to seeing their favorite player in. Others are preparing for stints overseas in order to make a living or as many a player has put it this summer to “just play ball”.
You’ve heard it all summer from players — “I just want to play basketball” when questioned about the lockout. What better way to get that point across than to play for free in front of adoring fans and stress that’s it all done for the love of the game. Or better yet, take a journey abroad with contracts that must include out clauses enabling players to return stateside to play the game they love in front of the fans they love all the while still getting paid handsomely.
It’s grassroots lobbying at its finest. Fans will eventually reach their boiling point and NBA owners are destined to draw their ire as a result. A myriad of reasons will be given when fans are asked why they are siding with players and it will all stem from players actions now.