Professional basketball’s labor negotiations have so far moved through three stages: Very public grandstanding, mean-spirited negotiations, and a series of far-flung ultimatums. We are now in the post-negotiations phase—a phase that David Stern, Comissioner of the NBA, has referred to as “nuclear”—in which each of the three parties involved has gone its own way. The NBA—for labor purposes, the team owners and Stern—have yanked their best worst offer and replaced it with one that would undo decades of uneasy cooperation.
The National Basketball Association playoffs start this coming weekend, running until the finals in early June. In recent years, the NBA has been heavily criticized for the quality of its referees, with many fans suggesting that the league is biased towards larger-market, more popular teams, like the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. For example, many observers criticized "unfair" refereeing helping the Lakers in 2002 against the Sacramento Kings, and the Miami Heat against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006 finals.
It’s a safe bet to say that almost everyone who isn’t a Miami Heat fan thinks LeBron James is a jerk. After all, who goes on ESPN to announce that he is ripping out his depressed hometown’s heart to go to a different team that isn’t even offering more money? LeBron James, that’s who. At the time, though, several commentators suggested James did have a powerful economic incentive to head South: taxes.
Today we introduce a new regular feature:, the Citizen Awards. This blog is all about the quest for a better society. Every week, we'll recognize one person who helped advance that cause (the Good Citizen) and one who set it back (the Bad Citizen). We'll focus on public figures and try not to take it, or ourselves, too seriously. Good Citizen of the Week: Bob Bennett Senator Bob Bennett was not in the news this week. But he's in the news this summer, because the Utah Republican Party denied his bid to run for a fourth term. Bennett has an 83.6 rating from the American Conservative Union.
[Guest Post by Isaac Chotiner] Buzz Bissinger has said it better than I ever could, but the LeBron fiasco currently airing on ESPN has been a complete and utter train-wreck. It is fashionable for commentators to dishonestly claim that they despised some overdone spectacle like the Oscars, even though they secretly enjoyed the circus. This is absolutely not the case with tonight's horrific LeBron coverage, which is maddeningly drawn-out and frustrating, and which has embarrassed ESPN.