US President Barack Obama has given his verdict on the issues that have prevented the new NBA season from getting underway on time by insisting that billionaire NBA owners and millionaire players should think of their fans rather than their bank balances.
An avowed basketball fan, Obama – appearing on NBC’s “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” – compared the situation to the recent labour row in the NFL, which was solved before regular season games were cancelled.
“We should be able to figure out how to split a nine-billion-dollar pot so that our fans, who are allowing us to make all of this money, can actually have a good season,” he said, paraphrasing the conversation between NFL players and owners.
“I think the owners and the basketball players need to think the same way.
“I’m concerned about it. I think they need to just remind themselves that the reason they are so successful is because a whole bunch of folks out there love basketball.”
“And, you know, basketball has actually done well, but these kinds of lockouts a lot of times take a long time to recover from them.”
The first two weeks of the regular season – 100 games scheduled from November 1-November 14 – have been lost as owners and players wrangle over a deal to replace the one that expired on July 1, when owners locked out players.
Further games have been in jeopardy since talks collapsed on Thursday, with the sides still far apart on issues including division of revenues and a salary cap structure.