Season in the Abyss

Published: June 30, 2011

It Has Ended

Where the glossy parquet is lorded over by grand pillars supporting baskets that would hold no peach I’ve ever seen, lit from above by tiny stars . . . there is a nothingness. The floors are still there, reflecting the shine. The baskets are there, ready to perform their function in iconic irony. The remnants of a better day are waiting resolutely for the dawn that may never come.

There is no next time. There is no next day. There is only cold mist, obscuring any future that is there, if there is even a future at all.

The floor is just a bunch of hydrocarbons, cleverly arranged, rotting more slowly than the city around it. The stars are just filaments in a fragile glass shell, waiting to see whether the imperfections in their protection or in their hearts will choke the light. The pillars are just standing there, holding up nothing of importance, signifying nothing great.

The greatness is gone. The purpose from which greatness springs has been shut from the world, locked away like secret in a diary.

The game is gone.

It Has Begun

A new game is being born. It will look the same to most. There will be a ball. Just one. It will bounce. Up and down. It’ll get thrown around, and it will fall through the basket. There will be cheering.

The important changes will be the ones we can not see or hear. These changes could be the ones that kill the game. These changes could be the ones that give the game life everlasting. These changes could do both: Give the game life, but not for us.

New Orleans Hornets fans are worldwide (Niall, Nikkoewan, Grayson, Highmore, Bug Marley to name 5), but all Hornets fans have an interest in the team staying right here. The fans that are in the city clearly want the team to stay put, but the fans everywhere should be hoping for stability so the team can truly compete with the great ones in the NBA.

The lockout that just started is about more than a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). It’s about a fundamental change in the way the owners operate both among themselves and with the players. As noted, these changes will not affect the points being scored or how the game is played. They will, however, affect where the points are being scored and where the games are played.

Under the current CBA, 22 teams are losing money, and some of those have been losing money consistently. There is no game if the business is broken. There are two ways for the problem to be fixed: surround the teams with wealth, whether via market or owners, so that they can stand the volatility of the NBA, or stabilize the business to that the heritage of the NBA can be preserved as much as possible.

If this CBA ends up favoring the first route over the second, the NBA in New Orleans is dead forever. We may have a season or two . . . we may play out the lease . . . but maybe not. Regardless, any arrangement will just be temporary.

This CBA must stabilize the business so that owners are not asked to essentially pay millions of dollars to be called an owner while making me happy.

This is the most important thing about the CBA negotiations for fans in all markets. In ALL markets. Billionaires did not become so by bleeding money. They became so by keeping their money and adding to it. Any owner that does not care about making money is not a good owner. The great owners care about making money while winning, sure, but no owner just spends to win without regard to cost. That idea is absurd, insulting, and clouds the true importance of the negotiations.

The most likely way to create the needed stability is through extensive revenue sharing.

So while you follow the CBA news, grasping on to the juicy bits about contracts and a franchise tag and Bird rights . . . ok, Bird rights are boring . . . about contracts and a franchise tag, remember that those are all secondary to this first good.

This is the only thing that can bring back the game as we know it, and is the only thing that can keep basketball alive in New Orleans.

We already lost a potential owner (Mr. Gary Chouest) due to the financial uncertainty of the NBA, at least for now, that is. We may lose David West and Chris Paul as a result . . . some say this is certain.

Forget David West. Forget Chris Paul. Bless their hearts, but forget them.

They are not what is important.

This team is more than any or all of them put together.

This team is what is important.

If the team stays here, and can do so as a part of this city, greatness will come . . . one day . . . greatness will come . . .

We need a CBA that helps us keep this team here, not these players, because if we don’t, we won’t just spend one season in the abyss . . .


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