Rumors have been swirling that Miami Heat superstar LeBron James and NBPA president Roger Mason Jr. (pictured) are prepared to lead a player boycott for the next NBA regular season if the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver don’t finalize the removal of Donald Sterling as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers franchise. While I think this is a noble gesture by the NBPA, this move would never happen in real-life and would in fact hurt the players more in the long-run.
For starters, the NBA can’t just simply wave a magic wand and oust Sterling peacefully out of his ownership role with the Clippers. Both Donald and Shelly Sterling have been infamous for taking people to court with more lawsuits than one can imagine. The same would happen here as the Sterling’s aren’t going to go down without a fight. If this decision also goes to court, the NBA and Silver have no jurisdiction over what can happen and can’t place an exact timetable on when a decision is made. Likewise, most of the NBA players would not only be walking out on their sport, but also multi-million dollar contracts that they will have already earned or will make this summer through either contract extensions and free agent contracts.
For James, the expected leader of this boycott, he will gain nothing good out of this. James would now become the pied piper of this movement, and while he too will be a free agent this summer, you can’t tell me that walking out on your sport in your prime as the face of the league won’t hurt him at all.
For the NBA, the league has already lost some of their long-standing fans after previous lockouts, mainly the 2011 NBA Lockout which caused the league to miss half the season. While the NBA and other professional sports leagues pride themselves on the ideals of competition and providing a fun and entertaining atmosphere for the fans, the NBA is a money-making league; when no money is coming in, the NBA suffers drastically. Not to mention that the NBA won’t be able to profit off one of the most intriguing draft classes ever featuring the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid and many other talented rookie .
While I appreciate the gesture made by the NBPA and standing up for what they believe is the right thing to do, when all is said and done, a boycott would not only anger the fans who pay hundreds if not thousands to see these athletes perform, but sponsors who invest millions each year for each of the 30 NBA teams. This supposed move would not only give Donald Sterling yet another minor victory in that he will have turned the NBA on its heels — which some can argue he already has — but everyone, not just the NBPA, would be in a lose-lose situation.