There was a time when men played for the love of the game; when competition alone satisfied the male ego. This age of basketball featured greats such as Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Oscar Robinson. These gladiators, and those like them, battled repeatedly winning league championships, MVP’s, scoring titles, and other accolades. Then, the product of James Naismith moved into an era where the love continued, but money was added. Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkely, Reggie Miller and Tim Hardaway have become league “poster-boys” for commercials and shoe contracts.
Each of them has continued the competitive fire’s burning while adding a flare of green. Today, the league seems to be completely entrenched in money. Multi-million dollar contracts, million dollar endorsements, and billion dollar television deals are the focus of the league now. Some criticize on the players for being so concerned about money while others argue the players should be compensated for their God given talents. These “some” are mostly owners’ of NBA franchises and the “others” are the players.
There are some that petition that the players bring in the money, so they should receive it while others say that they are already compensated enough for a game. In this instance, the “some” are pro player fans and the “others” are allies of the owners. With the large amounts of money that pass through the hands of the owners of NBA franchises and the precedent that has been set by other professional athletic leagues, NBA players should receive substantial compensation for their services.
Employee-Employer relations have been rigid since the beginning of time. For this reason, laborers started labor unions to rectify the problem. Labor unions, are associations of workers for the purpose of improving economic status through collective bargaining, formed out of the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century (Labor). Collective bargaining is defined as the negotiation between the representatives of organized workers and their employer(s) to determine wages, hours, rules, and working conditions.
The conditions under which these former farmers had to work were unbearable. The farmer got tired of the treatment and banded to together. Labor unions sprouted in the US around the 1830’s; however, the first major group was the Knights of Labor that organized in 1869 (Labor). Within the last six years there has been much discussion about the National Basketball Association and it’s labor agreement. The NBA labor agreement, the cause of the current lockout, does not meet the approval of the owners.
The details are tedious, but the overall discrepancy looms over how much the players are worth and how much the owners should pay them. In the summer of 1995 the owners opened the collective bargaining agreement. Their fear, the same fear that caused this year’s lockout, is that the players are receiving too much of the BRI, or basketball related income. In 1988 the collective bargaining agreement allotted the players forty-eight percent of BRI, they earned fifty-two percent. The owners, not happy with these figures, locked the players out until a better contract was agreed upon.