Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Accepting Reality

The NBA lockout is getting serious. Once again, the main news sources focus on the owners and players, with nary a mention of the poor sports investors who are also out of pocket - this from CNN.com:
With more lost games come more staggering numbers in financial losses -- even for minimum-salary players. The amounts that these guys will lose in the month of November will fall between $80,500 and $230,000. In other words, the lowest-paid guys in the league will lose significantly more in one month than the average American will make in an entire year. ... Four players -- Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Rashard Lewis, and Kobe Bryant, would've made over $20 million in 2011-2012, and the losses they take are the most drastic.
The battle between NBA owners and players is one that the players cannot win, at least, that's what all the experts are saying, but I have to agree. When you have a skill that limits you to a small number of employment opportunities, you are not in the best of bargaining positions. For a basketball player, the highest salaries are in the NBA. Sure, you can ply your trade elsewhere, in Europe or Canada perhaps, but with few exceptions the big money is to be made in the NBA. If there is no NBA, you are somewhat screwed. If the best that the NBA is willing to offer you is $x million, then even if it wasn't the $x+y million you were getting before, if it is still higher than anyone else is paying, suck it up. Cutting off your nose to spite your face isn't the best of ideas. Ask Latrell Sprewell. It's also how anyone hit with the 50% Super Premium Charge on Betfair probably feels too. As a former IT contractor, I'm well aware of how a specialised market can go from boom to bust overnight, and stamping your foot saying how much you used to be paid doesn't do much good.

With the cancellation of all NBA games through November, I took a look at my numbers from last season, and was somehat relieved to see that, as might be expected, October and November are appetiser months for the main entrée of the season, which starts in December. The usual concerns of no form and personnel changes take a while to settle down. Of course, were a shortened NBA season to start in December, that 'settling down' period would simply be delayed, so however you look at it, this outage is going to cost me money.
I was looking at the salaries of MLS players, and while David Beckham and Thierry Henry aren't doing so bad, the average salaries there are really very, well, average. It's a little strange to look at the salaries of two of my erstwhile heroes, Gregg Berhalter and Jovan Kirovski, (I use the term 'heroes' loosely), and see that their incomes are nothing special at all. Their lifestyles might be a little more exciting though. It's a short career though, something that's hard to comprehend when you're young.
Maybe my Mum was right about school after all. Law of averages means she's going to be right every once in a while, although I still think she was wrong with the "computers might not catch on" line she came out with when I quit my first job (with NatWest) to learn computer programming.

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