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NBA / Nov 17, 2011 / 1:00 pm

Greg Anthony: ‘Players Are More Sophisticated Now Than We Were’

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant (photo. Chris Sembrot)

The reactions to the lockout news of the past week have run the gauntlet. No one is happy, and for me, I’m really, really nervous. It’s not that we’re currently in a lockout. It doesn’t burn me up inside that we should have basketball and yet we don’t. I don’t walk around complaining all day, or spit venom at the people I think responsible. I’m more just nervous because players are more aware of what they’re owed than ever before. The owners are still treating them like novices, and it’s becoming increasingly clear the players’ understanding of the business is growing. That could mean a very long standoff.

NYDailyNews.com ran a recent story about the lockout and the difference between the present day and 1999. As former NBA player Greg Anthony told them, “The players are far more sophisticated now than we were. And they’re far better prepared.”

In 1999, some players who were used to living lavishly and bringing along their crew for the ride, soon found that their pockets emptied pretty quickly. But most current players knew about this inevitable lockout as far back as two years ago, and pretty much everyone is ready financially to meet it for the long haul (Despite some of these guys who seem to be clamoring for attention and pity on Twitter.).

“It’s not like the lockout is a surprise to these players,” Anthony told NYDailyNews.com. “The players have been preparing for this for the past few years. Yes, there will be a few who will have issues, but the vast majority will remain focused on the bigger issue.”

[Related: Top 10 NBA Players Slated To Lose The Most Money Each Paycheck]

So at this point, we have a collection of players who have the resources to fight a long battle. Obviously, they can’t go as long as the owners, but when comparing this to years past, the chance that an entire season – or maybe even more – being lost is infinitely greater. Combine that with self-awareness that has grown across the league in the last few years, and suddenly you have a ton of players who aren’t just willing to play ball for a lot of money, but players who won’t play ball unless they get most of what they’re owed. When you look at the history of the league, at least in the last 20 years, in some instances players never really received their total market value. Now they want most of it and the owners are balking. It’s a bad recipe.

The union says they’ve already lost $175 million. Kobe Bryant alone lost out on a paycheck on Nov. 15 that would’ve been $2.2 million. The owners – and most of us – are banking on the players losing the spirit for the fight once the money stops. I’m nervous it won’t do anything but make them angrier.

Do you think it’s a bad thing that players are more prepared and seem to be more self-aware of their rights/market value now?

Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.

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  • north

    Being aware of the money around you doesn’t make the players smarter, more informed maybe. That information seems to be making them greedier as well. I’m not even sure it’s the players that are aware though… agents stand to lose almost more than the players do and they are the ones putting the bug in the ear of their clients. They know if the players lose money, they lose. And since most of those guys are living life larger than some of the players the represent of course they’re going to battle.
    Here’s my option for the players… keep the 57% but out of their pockets pay for the advertising and the staff salaries. The owners can walk away with their 43% and do what they want with it.
    Mark Cuban owns a team, but he wasn’t groomed to be an owner from grade school. He wasn’t anyone till he worked his ass off and made something of himself. He took that money and bought the greatest toy of all time, an NBA franchise.
    I can name a handful of players who have had to grind like some of the owners to make it. Yes they all practice hard and didn’t have childhoods outside of ball, but they weren’t grinding…
    Ask an average NBAer what is going on with this deal and they won’t know. Most of those guys just want to play. Proof? Check their twitter accounts.

  • yoda

    i’ve read somewhere that around 30.000 people are out of job or lost lots of money due to this lockout. and someone is sorry about about nba players? fuck them and fuck owners, both sides are greedy bastards. i’m on owners side in this, but if it wasn’t for all the little people involved in nba circus (staff, management, vendors, what ever) i’d wish for season to be canceled. so both sides get a slap on a wallet and that they start to respect fans more.

  • arno

    Well, if owners consider their team as a toy, they should worry about the fact that the toy is broken and fix it, which means accepting to improve their situation from 43/57 to 49/51 or so ans stop playing winner takes all.

    Cuban has a winning team and would surely love to parade all around the country with the guys. He must be frustrated. So maybe all owners are not ready to lose a whole season, eveen if they can stand it on a purely financial basis.

  • http://www.psychodrama.com Chicagorilla

    @north

    the more you post, the more you show us the idiot that you are.

    If you seriously think the owners “grind” to get where they are at then you are just as dumb as the guys who make $60K a year and vote republican because they think they can be a millionaire someday.
    None… and i mean Not one statement, of what you wrote makes any kind of sense. Players don’t grind, but owners do? hahaha. Players aren’t smart enough to know their money so the agents must be controlling them. Well who do you think is controlling the owners? You seriously think they are smart enough to do this alone? Nevermind, don’t answer that. I don’t want you to $h!t yourself while you’re trying to think.

  • douglalr

    @ Chicagorilla
    sooooo true…
    being more aware of what you’re worth makes you see things differently…has anyone noticed how many government jobs have been cut over the last two year? How many union benefits lost? If they can suck it up and get another job why can’t the popcorn vendors? I feel for them, but when’s the last time anyone thought twice about someone working at a concession stand? We’re just making up another reason to hate the players for what we don’t have.