An Honest
Day’s Word

By Joe Edwards

Wednesday, January 6, 1999

NBA players,
owners have
both blown it

NBA players, stand tough. Please vote to support the union's position of rejecting the owners' final offer in your contract negotiations.

NBA owners, stand tough. Cancel the season.

Both moves will do you both some good.

On the players' end, maybe only after they lose a year of their careers will they be smart enough to realize how lucky they are. They've had a pretty good deal going for a long time now.

Good working conditions, to be sure. Nice minimum wage with potential for even nicer increases after only modest success.

Accommodations? They stay in the best hotels when they are forced to travel on business. Good per diems, too.

Granted, job security is not great, but hey, who hasn't lost a job? Guess what, fellas, if you suddenly find yourselves out of the league at age 27, you'll have to actually work for a living.

The last time I looked, most people had to work more than five or six years before they could retire to the nearest resort for the rest of their lives.

Maybe shoulda went to that Econ 1001 class, huh? Or learned a trade with a bit more longevity than shooting a basketball.

On the owners' end, maybe they'll realize that most people, even though they like pro basketball, don't really need to watch the big leaguers to enjoy the game. This is not baseball, where the college game or even the minor leagues doesn't even compare to the majors.

Don't get me wrong. NBA players are the best at their game in the world, but college players play a pretty reasonable facsimile to the big boys. It's exciting, the arenas are packed and the last time I looked, Duke was not moving its team out of Cameron Indoor Stadium in favor of a new arena that's part a revitalization effort in downtown Kansas City.

They've priced out the average fan in favor of those on corporate expense accounts and luxury suites.

Two hundred bucks to take my family to sit in the cheap seats at an NBA game? (Don't even get me started with the folks in town this week who had the nerve to charge Hawaii folks $65 for a seat to a pickup game.)

Forget that nonsense.

I'm not going to try to say the players aren't worth the money they make, because they are. A person's labor is worth whatever the market will bear. And so far, the players have created a pretty lucrative market.

On the other hand, the owners ought to have the right to set that market. If they don't want to pay $18 million a year to one employee, so be it.

But, hey. Enough economic theory. Here's hoping the players and the owners have enough fortitude to stick by their principals.

Reject the proposal.

Cancel the season.

Good riddance to the lot of you.


Don't you just love a good sports argument. Man, the radio talk shows yesterday were agush with people weighing in on the baseball Hall of Fame selections.

If a guy didn't know better, you'd think Robin Yount was some goofball.

This guy was a big-time shortstop and center fielder. You don't just hit safely 3,142 times over your career by accident.

He was a better player than Cal Ripken ever was, he just never played 2,600-some straight games.

He came up to the big leagues as an 18-year-old. Won two MVP awards. Drove in more than 1,400 runs. Batted .414 in the only World Series he played in.

His "problem" was that he played his entire career in Milwaukee and mostly kept his mouth shut, that's hard to understand for most people from the left and right coasts.

The other two guys elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America, George Brett and Nolan Ryan, quite simply are two of the most dominating players of their era.

Joe Edwards is sports editor of the Star-Bulletin.

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