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Kobe makes plea for players to stand behind union

Aug 17, 2011, 6:30 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Hornets - Game Four Getty Images

There are owners counting on the players union coming apart at the seams. They are counting on players used to an extravagant lifestyle who, once they miss a couple paychecks, will start putting pressure on union head Billy Hunter to get a deal done fast. A deal on the owners’ terms. (The players would not get their first paycheck until Nov. 15, by the way, so do the math on missing a couple paychecks and think about what that means for the season.)

The players know all this, and the players are far better prepared for a lockout now than they were in 1998.

That includes some of the biggest names in the game taking a role to keep the union together. This week at a couple of union meetings — they took place in Las Vegas and Los Angeles — it was the big names trying rally the troops. According to Ken Berger at, Kobe Bryant was doing the rallying in Los Angeles.

Before a star-studded audience of about 75 players in Los Angeles Tuesday, Bryant was “up front” and “deliberate” in a speech in which he urged players to maintain solidarity and “stand behind the union” during the lockout, according to a person who was in attendance.…

Bryant and Paul Pierce told players Tuesday it was important for them to “remain united” in the face of a lockout that has dragged well into its second month with only one full-scale bargaining session, the person who attended the meeting said.

If the owners insist on a strategy of breaking the union, this season will be lost. The players have been preparing for this for a long time.

The one bright spot in all this was the players authorizing Hunter to reach out to Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver — the league’s lead negotiator — to set up a negotiating session next week in New York.

Who knows what if anything will come of that, but the two sides at least sitting down at the table and talking again is a start.

  1. philliphernandez - Aug 17, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    I like the fact that the players are standing up for themselves but I still don’t get what the end game is here except that the owners are now talking about contraction. Shouldn’t the owners figure out revenue sharing and contraction first? If the teams that were purchased in the last decade are the hard liners because they are the most over-leveraged, wouldn’t those guys need the games the most as well?

    Owners like Sterling [spit] are profitable because they don’t spend money and get revenue sharing year after year by being bottom feeders for decades. Sterling [spit] pockets the little revenue sharing money that the NBA distributes from teams actually trying to win without contributing anything to the viability of the NBA. To him it wouldn’t matter if any games are played he isn’t carrying the same amount of debt.

    Owners like Dr. Buss need to churn the machine to feed the beast. He is trying to pre-pay his death taxes to pass the team to his kids without having to cut in another partner. He needs to play the games because his business plan centers around playing late into the season which produces extra revenue to support going over the cap and the luxury tax his pays to Sterling [spit] and the other bottom feeders.

  2. barklikeadog - Aug 17, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    And who cares?

  3. denverdude7 - Aug 18, 2011 at 8:27 AM

    barklikeadog – Aug 17, 2011 at 10:39 PM
    And who cares?

    Motion seconded. Every NBA player can just go play in Turkey, China or Istanbul for all I care.

    Have fun with that.

    Bye-Bye…See Ya !!!

  4. bj1980 - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    Speaking as a working class slob from a long line of same, it’s hard to take a union whose members average seven figures seriously.

  5. rayrsatx - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    I maintain that all the NBA players & it’s union can all go to hell! Unions are bad news for basketball fans!

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:29 PM

      Either you are a rich bass-turd or a useful idiot for the rich bass-turds.

  6. scir91onYouTube - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    i hope there is a lockout. let the owners see that the NBA can’t exist with the basketball players. no one comes to an arena to buy a soft drink or relax with 20,000 people. they ALL come to see the PLAYERS exhibit their skill and entertain them. either pay the players millions or don’t make any money. please, i PRAY for a LOCKOUT!

  7. jimeejohnson - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    The owners need the players a lot more than the players need the owners. Unlike football, basketball is a global game, and eventually, NBA players will get very, very good paying jobs playing for foreign teams, and those games will be televised in America. Owners will reap exactly what they are sowing even if useful idiots don’t like it.

  8. bigpoppa93 - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    Hey Kobe! I really think you should play Tupac in the new movie about him. You would be perfect! I mean that most repespectfully. It would be a great movie and you would be
    Oscar material. I’m serious!
    Do it! As for the NBA Players Union, I am 100% in Solidarity with you guys! You deserve your share as the owners make their money off your hard work and talents.

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