There was a winner in the NBA lockout.
NBA Commissioner David Stern? Nope. NBA Players’ Association Executive Director Billy Hunter? No. Michael Jordan, owner of the cash-strapped Charlotte Bobcats? No way. Besiktas (the Turkish team that signed All-Star point guard Deron Williams)? Maybe in Turkey, but no. The Chinese? Sure, they get to watch unpredictable guard JR Smith, but no.
The victor is the Internet. And by default, that means its users too.
The information superhighway may in the future influence the dynamics of collective bargaining in the NBA. In fact, it may already have done so. When the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expired between the NBA and the players, the NBA forbid owners and players from exercising their right to free speech in online social networking sites with anything lockout-related. Clearly, this is in recognition of the immense power of the Internet in amplifying emotions among the lockout participants, emotions that could impact the progress of the CBA negotiations. Of course, this rule may have been instituted so as not to compromise the integrity of the negotiations and keep out unwanted intrusion by outside forces.
But for the clueless NBA fan (and ‘apathetic’ NBA players), the information superhighway stood out as a beacon in all the madness.
The public could never have participated in the closed-door meetings held between the owners and players’ union to sort out their vast differences regarding a new CBA, but thanks to the countless perspicacious NBA observers and reporters, the concerned NBA fan seemed just outside the door of the conference room. Websites such as Yahoo! Sports and ESPN provided not only topnotch updates and perspectives on the continuing saga on the negotiating table, but also forums for fans to let their sentiments be heard. By using the Internet to express varying levels of frustration or vituperation, concerned NBA fans can at least claim that they too have a right to be a part of a supposed ‘collective’ agreement. While a new and acceptable CBA was being crafted and deliberated upon within the confines of hotel rooms, a new narrative was being created throughout the Internet: no matter how the lockout would develop, the fans must ultimately take part in the NBA labor relations. The scope of such participation has yet to be decided, though it truly cannot be denied anymore.
For now, if everything goes as planned, time to participate in watching league MVP Derrick Rose and the Bulls face five-time champion Kobe Bryant and the Lakers this December 25.
Aldan S. Avila, Entry No. 1