Keyon Dooling On NBA Lockout: “It’s just looking like all of our worst fears are going to come true. It’s unfortunate.”

June 30, 2011 – 7:38 pm by Steven Cuce

Another one of the core four professional sports turns into lockout mode as the NBA moves into what David Stern has been making out to be an Armageddon. If you thought the players and owners were far apart or making progress and now apparently not really making progress in the forever lasting NFL lockout then you just wait and see how bad this NBA lockout will be. Union chief, Billy Hunter, made it official on Thursday afternoon that the owners would lock out the players after failing to reach a new collective bargaining agreement and this was hours before the mid-night deadline. You can really appreciate the honesty and candidness of the owners and players huh? Both sides weren’t going to push for an extension past mid-night and tease fans. The owners and players knew they were far apart and there was no sugar coating it.

Keyon Dooling is the Vice President of the NBAPA working under Derek Fisher who is the President. Dooling joined 106.7 the Fan in D.C to make sense of the NBA lockout and give the player’s side of the argument as if sports fan want to hear more about millionaire players fighting billionaire owners. From the sound of it, Dooling thinks sports fans and business’s couldn’t live without the NBA, but what he doesn’t realize is the fact that it took years for the NBA to recover from the 1999 lockout. Fans might not be so forgiving this time around. Most sports fans don’t even pay attention to basketball until after the Lombardi Trophy is hoisted and this time around fans may just let this lockout go on without a fuss. The NFL lockout is one thing as America’s most popular sport, but the NBA may just be left to the waste side.

Keyon Dooling joined 106.7 the Fan in D.C. with The Mike Wise Show with Holden Kushner to discuss a reason why Americans should care about the NBA lockout, the players and owners being really far apart in negotiations right now, seeing the owners perspective of the argument during the NBA lockout, David Stern acting like the NBA lockout is an Armageddon, the key component of the owners proposal during the collective bargaining negotiations and the owners and players being close on anything during their collective bargaining sessions.

Can you give a reason to why Americans should care about the NBA lockout?

“Well we’re Americans as well. There’s been attacks on unions all over the country. As a matter of fact all over the world, so let’s embrace that. We’re no different just the part with us is that our story is on television and our salaries are in the newspapers, so it’s a little bit different, but we’re American. We understand the recession and all those different things, but we just want to get our message out there and let the people know that we’re giving back money. We understand the economics of it and we’re trying to move forward. We don’t want to lose any time, but it’s that they [the owners] are not bargaining fair.”

It sounds like the players and owners are really far apart in terms of negotiations. Do you see an end in site?

“Not before the deal expires. It’s just looking like all of our worst fears are going to come true. It’s unfortunate. It’s just unfortunate.”

Can you understand the owners perspective in the lockout due to guys making big money in contracts they don’t deserve like Tracy McGrady? Teams make trades based on money now instead of basing it on ability?

“Look I don’t want to take a political stand with this like I’m Republican or I’m Democratic. We can’t cross because we can’t meet in the middle. No. We understand that there is some problems with the stale contracts. If that’s who is getting the money and they are at the end of the bench that means the guys who are on the court aren’t getting it, so let’s cut something out of the system to fit that. We understand all these problems. Let’s address the true problems. Let’s talk about the problems and how we get through those problems. How do we accommodate both sides on those problems? We have a problem with stale contracts. You think I like seeing a guy that sits on the end of the bench who’s sitting at home making $10 million? I’m out there practicing every day making what I’m making. No I would rather that money go to the players who are contributing. I think there’s a great opportunity for it to customize the system that will address all these issues that each side may have. That’s what I’m saying.”

Has David Stern gone off the deep end at all? He talks like this lockout is an Armageddon?

“That’s what we are preparing for [Armageddon] because men lie. Women lie. Numbers do not. The proof is in the pudding. The system that they have on the table that they want us to take, we just have a difference of opinion on our value and we just have to find some kind of middle ground and if not we’ll just have to have both sides fight it out until we come to some agreement because at the end of the day it’s going to happen. It’s gotta be basketball. It’s a wonderful league. There’s too many people affected by our league. We’re not just fighting for the players, but all the people at the arenas are going to lose their job. All the business next door to the arena that get crowds because of our basketball game, all the sports bars, all the people I know personally, who I can’t talk to after tomorrow, who I know and love and have personal relationships because they work for the NBA. I can’t talk to them tomorrow. It’s really deeper than only players. It’s a lot of people at stake, our families, everybody is going to be effected by this. At the end of the day I think we can make this a great opportunity to show a true partnership in a big corporation like the NBA platform and the product. The players and owners can come together and develop something that will work beautiful for everybody and that’s what I’m fighting for and if it takes a long fight that’s what we have to be willing to do because I still it’s a great opportunity moving forward to grow this game, so it’s the biggest game in the world.”

Educate the listeners on the NBA lockout. What do you think is the key point of the owner’s proposal during the lockout? I heard one component is the way Miami teamed up to make the Big Three?

“Retroactively negotiating our contracts is something that’s really, really, tough. Everybody is just taking a cut before we even get into anything just a cut. Then the hard system. The hard cap. The flex cap/hard cap. I think that would eliminate the middle class. It would be detrimental to the players. It guarantees us something we’ve had pretty much since the league has been in existence and that will eliminate the guarantees and the contracts. I think there are ways we can work to deal with the stale contracts. The people who are the end of their deals that are making a lot of money sitting on the bench. I think there are ways we can customize those systems, but those two issues I believe are the main issues. We are not even talking about the money yet. Those issues…the system will tie into the money issues.”

Is there something the two sides are both close on in the negotiations?

“We haven’t had a lot of time to go back-and-fourth about you know the non-economical issues because we are so far away on the economical issues.”

Listen to Keyon Dooling on 106.7 the Fan in D.C. here

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