The NBA and its players have resolved one of the worst labor dispute to hit the game early Saturday, allowing them to reopen their $4 billion-a-year business. It has been announced that a 66-game season will start on Christmas Day, and the second-longest lockout in league history will finally be over.
It has been reported that the players made significant concessions, including a reduction of up to $300 million year in salaries, which equates to $3 billion over the life of the agreement.
The New York Times reported that Jim Quinn, the attorney who helped end the NBA lockout in 1998, was hired in an attempt to resolve the situation.
Jonathan Schiller, the players’ attorney, had previously released a statement one day before Thanksgiving that gave fans hope. Schiller said discussions were taking place in an attempt to settle outside of a courtroom.
"There would be preliminary settlement discussions with the NBA immediately after Thanksgiving with regard to the lawsuit filed recently by the players in Minnesota," Schiller had said.
NBA fans will be ecstatic, having been forced till now to watch their season fall by the wayside, and have begun taking action in an Occupy NBA movement. New York State Sen. Malcolm Smith led fans in front of New York City’s Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, in an attempt to get their voices heard. The group has disagreed with NBA commissioner David Stern and league owners, calling them the 99 percent who are ruled by corporate greed.
Smith told the New York Daily News that he wanted to create a petition for season ticket holders who will lose money this year, asking for a full refund. The senator asked for others to join the movement in a day of solidarity across the country on Dec. 11.
"Stop bickering about the millions of dollars that you guys already make,” Smith said. “Think about the little person.”
Today’s deal was reached at about 3 a.m. Saturday, which was the 149th day of the lockout, after a marathon 15-hour meeting in Midtown Manhattan.
David Stern, the league’s commissioner said: “We’ve reached a tentative understanding that is subject to a variety of approvals and very complex machinations, but we’re optimistic that that will all come to pass, and that the N.B.A. season will begin on Dec. 25, Christmas Day, with a tripleheader.”
Training camps and free agency will open, simultaneously, on Dec. 9, which gives teams two weeks to prepare.