The NBA season was scheduled to start Tuesday night, including a game of some interest in these parts: Thunder at Lakers.
Oklahoma eyeballs would have been glued to TNT, watching Durant and Westbrook go against Kobe and Gasol.
Jack Nicholson sitting courtside. Charles Barkley commenting. Kendrick Perkins scowling. Ron Artest introduced as Metta World Peace.
Instead, we did other things. Caught up on work. Visited our mothers. Did laundry. Watched “The Biggest Loser.”
Speaking of which, I don't know if the owners will win in this NBA lockout, but I assume they will.
I don't know if the players will lose in this NBA lockout, but I assume they will.
But I already know who is the biggest loser in this NBA lockout.
Once considered the best commissioner in sport, by what gauge would he now not be considered the worst?
His game is dark, with its second work stoppage in the last 13 years.
Baseball hasn't missed a game since 1995. The NFL hasn't missed a game since 1987. But here comes the NBA with another lockout to go with the dispute that reduced the 1998-99 season to 50 regular-season games.
Sorry, that dubious distinction falls squarely on Stern.
A commissioner's primary job is to protect the owners' interests. And that's where Stern has failed. He has led us to this. Empty arenas. Blank television sets. His greatest stars playing exhibition games in high school gyms or flag football with the Sigma Nus in Stillwater.
Stern now has trumped baseball commish Bud Selig, a punching bag for his sport's multiple problems over the last two decades. Stern's up 2-1 on Selig in work stoppages, and Selig wasn't even officially commissioner during the 1994 baseball strike, though that blood is on his hands.
We've heard for almost three decades of Stern's value to the NBA. How he sheparded it from a backward, sleepy enterprise to the cutting-edge entertainment that now grips humanity from Broken Bow to Beijing. And that's all true.
Sure, capitalizing on the Magic/Bird rivalry gave Stern a headstart. And Michael Jordan's ascension to Acropolis didn't hurt. But Stern either helped build those brands or took full advantage of them, so he deserves much credit for the NBA's enhanced profile.
And of course, around here, we love Davey to death. Always been a big Oklahoma City booster. Moved us to the front of the line for a franchise, then delivered when Clay Bennett seized opportunity.
But want the credit for glory? Then take the blame for disaster. And empty NBA arenas qualify.
I realize all the politics and nuances of labor negotiations. It's a rough process.
I realize the landscape. Payrolls are too high for fiscal responsibility, and reducing payroll always is a bitter battle.
But Stern doesn't get a pass. If the NBA economic model is broken, whose fault is that? Stern was commissioner upon installation of this system. You break it, you fix it.
The NBA is not a tradition-rich sport. It doesn't have the generational bloodlines of baseball and college football. Nor does it have the omnipotent power of the NFL.
Pro basketball will take a step or three back with this lockout, depending on its length. Stern already has proven he's capable of bringing the league back from the shadows.
But the best commissioners don't let their sport slip in the first place.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.