Editor’s Note: As the lockout trudges on, Salt City Hoops continues to add talent to our arsenal. Sam Strong is the newest contributor to the team… but we’ll let him tell you about it. – JL
I’m the newest contributor to SCH so I thought I would tell everyone a little about myself before proceeding to whine about the lockout, one of my many talents.
I was born and raised a Jazz fan in Bountiful and graduated from Bountiful High (But not before painting my less-than-in-shape chest for a playoff game. See: game one, 2007 series against the Rockets tape for anyone brave enough to dig through the archives.)
I was excited to get into UCLA and started here as a freshman in 2009. I’ve served as sports editor at the campus newspaper, the Daily Bruin, where I still work as a beat writer for the football and basketball teams. I also interned at the Los Angeles Daily News last summer and I’m currently interning at Grantland.com.
I also had a brief stint over at TrueHoop’s ClipperBlog but as exciting as Blake Griffin is, I jumped at the chance to join the team here at SCH. I’m looking forward to writing here and engaging with you guys about the Jazz.
Without further ado…
Basketball has always been there for me.
When I was a kid, the start of the NBA season was a sign that I was that much closer to destroying the gift wrap that surrounded that holiday season’s finest game console.
During high school, the start of the NBA season usually coincided with the not so gut-wrenching decision of seeing a D-Will dominate CP3 in favor of going to the annual Harvest Dance
During my last two years in college, NBA opening day came just in time to provide a distraction from midterms or terrible football teams.
But this year, my rock, the date circled and then circled again on my calender came and went quietly. As I’m sure all followers of the sporting world noticed, the NBA did not play games on its scheduled opening date which came last Tuesday, Nov. 1.
Not only did the red circles on my calender bleed onto Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, I had the lineup of games I was going to watch using the NBA League Pass that I attempted to buy before the good people at the cable company told me it wasn’t available. The Jazz, of course, were set to host Houston but the only basketball on TV sets in Salt Lake City this week has come in the form of KJZZ’s “Jazz Classic,” an attempt to distract fans by reminding them of the good ol’ days (I’ll admit to the distraction working on me. You better believe I’m firing up the Slingbox to watch game four of the ’97 finals from Los Angeles.)
I walked past Staples Center on Wednesday only to find a massive L.A. Kings banner adorning one side of the arena. I turned on the T.V. on Thursday night in hopes that basketball would magically appear but I had to settle for MLS playoff soccer. I was eager to prove to my one, obnoxious Heat-fan friend (everyone has one, right?) that Paul Milsap’s 46 points that came almost year ago weren’t a fluke but the Jazz’s game in Miami on Nov. 9 is out of the question.
We’ve all gotten false hope when the players and owners are reported to “get closer” to an agreement but whatever hope fans had last week was surely erased on Thursday when 50 players threatened to dissolve the players union, a risky move that could force a deal but could also take a number of months.
I don’t pretend to know why that tiny, little 2.5 percent of basketball related income could forbid millions of fans from viewing the world-class basketball the NBA is known for but somehow, it has. Somehow, the fans are the biggest losers while the negotiations continue.
I wonder if the players and owners know the agony that their fans are experiencing. I know both sides claim to know how monumental the fans are to them but I have to think a crazed Minnesota Timberwolves fan (if such a thing exists) working as the mediator would get a deal signed much more quickly than a guy in a suit if both sides could see the sense of urgency in the fan base.
Whether a decertified union gets the two sides anywhere close to a deal, it’s a shame that it has gone on for 127 days with the fans, the people that make the whole thing go, powerless to end it. I don’t support either side because I can see both sides of their juxtaposed goals but I do know that both sides are being equally selfish.
I’ll now go back to pretending to care about the NHL and the MLS cup in hopes that the labor talk settles soon.
When it does, I expect co-signed apology card from David Stern and Billy Hunter.