NBA lockout taking a toll on fans

November 4, 2011 Sports Print Print
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The continuing NBA lockout is leaving many Oklahoma basketball fans feeling left out in the cold.

For a city that is in its relative infancy in terms of its venture into the arena of professional sports, Oklahoma City and its residents are facing a harsher-than-normal winter in the shadow of the first NBA lockout since the 1998-99 season, as well as the second major professional-sports breakdown after the NFL lockout that occurred earlier this year.

Since June 30, NBA owners and players alike have failed to come to a consensus on a new collective-bargaining agreement that would raise the average player salary to the $7 million level in its sixth year NBA Commissioner David Stern and National Basketball Players Association President and Los Angeles Laker guard Derek Fisher lead the respective sides in the negotiations.

The failure to compromise has resulted in the cancellation of the first two weeks of the NBA season, and leaves the possibility for further cancellations to ensue.

OCCC business major Misael Serna said he firmly supports the players in the negotiations.

“Just give the players their money — the players are who the fans come to see,” Serna said.

“It’s the players that make [the owners] money, anyway.”

In light of the continuing lockout, however, the NBPA has already begun seeing some of their players begin either training abroad or signing short-term contracts with overseas clubs in the interim.

The Oklahoma City Thunder currently has stars of their own moving abroad in order to continue playing.

Swiss-born guard Thabo Sefolosha confirmed via Facebook on Oct. 11 that he would be playing for Turkish-side Fenerbahçe Ülker until an agreement could be reached.

Also, Spanish-side Real Madrid confirmed Oct. 25 that Thunder forward Serge Ibaka would be joining them for two months worth of games while the lockout continued.

Serna was not fazed by news of Sefolosha and Ibaka’s moves abroad and said that players relocating would help the game overseas as well as in the U.S.

“Players moving abroad will help make the game more popular,” Serna said.

“I think they should get television rights to broadcast [international] games, too.”

Further games have yet to be cancelled, but the two sides will continue to meet in order to save as much of the regular season as possible.

To contact Sean M. Tolbert, email sportswriter@occc.edu.

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