Greg Anthony was the Vice President of the Players Association during the last time David Stern and his NBA locked out the players. It was the 1998-99 season, and that nuclear winter extended all the way up until January 20th. A 50-game schedule was constructed and played out as a result, the All Star Game canceled, and Shawn Kemp came back to the Association way fatter than anybody could’ve ever expected he would. It was a mess.
This time around it’s different though, at least Anthony thinks so. According to Greg, this group of NBA players is more sophisticated and better prepared for the lost game checks than his group was just a bit more than a decade ago.
This from The NY Daily News yesterday:
Greg Anthony, the former Knick, thinks there is a critical difference between the 430-odd NBA players who are locked out now and his group that was barred from the arenas by the owners in 1998-99.
“The players are far more sophisticated now than we were,” he told the Daily News recently. “And they’re far better prepared.”
More than a few players back in ’98-99 failed to put away money in anticipation of losing paychecks. Even still, the players did not agree to terms until early January, on the eve of the league’s drop-dead date for the cancellation of the season. But there were always cracks in the ranks.
“It’s not like the lockout is a surprise to these players,” Anthony said. “The players have been preparing for this for the past few years. Yes, there will be a few who will have issues, but the vast majority will remain focused on the bigger issue.”
The biggest issue, of course, being that the players can’t take a bad deal just to get their paychecks again.
I’m not encouraging anybody to take a bad deal either, but I’m not sure there’s a good or better deal out there that would help players recoup the losses they appear set to lose this season. There’s no amount of BRI that the owners are going to relent on that will inevitably allow Ryan Hollins, for example, to make back the $2.48 million player option he just exercised in Cleveland this past June should he lose all of that. And no offense to Ryan, or any of the other rank and file players like him, but you have to wonder how many other contracts like that they’re ever going to get.
But at least guys have money saved up though and are not staying posted up at the buffet line, because that would be even uglier I guess.