To the pleasure of most Americans, the NFL Commissioner and NFL Players Association finally came to an agreement to end the lockout in time to save their $9 billion season from nonexistence. I would safely say that I never lost any sleep over this lockout. There are no other countries in the world that are going to try and start an American-style football league that whisks away all of our superstar pigskin jockeys. The NFL is also a huge economic contributor in many major cities across the country, and locales would indeed have gotten involved had the league not picked something up to fill those months of empty stadiums and equally empty sports bars.
On the contrary, I have been closely following the NBA lockout from the inside out. Players that I work with are filing for COBRA insurance coverage, their NBA sponsored 401(k) plans are rolling over, and the paychecks stopped rolling in months ago. While I am sure NFL players experienced the same sort of job termination rituals, NFL players were not packing up and accepting paychecks overseas. They were starting record labels, banging supermodels, and driving lifted trucks.
From Turkey to Spain to the Philippines, professional basketball players are definitely flirting with the idea of a steady paycheck once again--no matter where it takes them. With some of these players being massively popular stars here in the states, the offers they are getting in other countries are quite handsome. And face it, at the end of the day, money talks.
The NBA should be careful to not lose their all-stars to these young foreign leagues. New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams already signed a $5 million deal with a team in Turkey. Dwight Howard talked to the associated press last week about packing up and heading to China or somewhere else in Europe. It has been rumored that some other high-dollar ballers have been in negotiations to make similar moves. Losing key players will absolutely damage the NBA's fan base as followers of some of the league's favorite players will indeed turn their sights to their star's new team, wherever that may be.
It's basically the equivalent of throwing hundred dollar bills out of a car window while going 100mph on Interstate 5. Or just burning the mint down.
Shape up, or watch your players ship out.