The Los Angeles Kings may have the town’s most recent championship, but with a dark arena for their month without the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers, basketball will return as the crowning attraction of the Staples Center. It’s a phenomenon that will sweep through arenas across the country this week as the NBA season begins amid locked out NHL teams.
There are 15 markets that have cross promotion between the two leagues. While even a Stanley Cup is not enough to put the Kings on top of Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul’s all-star show, other cities provided viable competition in the NHL. The Minnesota Wild and Washington Capitals are better alternatives than the Minnesota Timberwolves and Washington Wizards, but for those markets with comparable teams, the void can easily be filled with a couple of alley oops.
The NHL announced that it was canceling games through November. The rest of the season is about to be on the chopping block unless NBA Commissioner David Stern can impose enough flopping fines on the NHL owners. That means for those of us in Colorado, the much anticipated Denver Nuggets will be running up the court that has a thin layer of ice underneath it. Without the Colorado Avalanche’s youth to look forward to, the Nuggets fever is growing by the day.
The rest of the country is now taking an example from Atlanta and Phoenix. The Atlanta Hawks are the only winter sport since the Thrashers became the Winnipeg Jets. For Arizona, the Phoenix Coyotes leaving left only the Phoenix Suns… Of course, the fans of the Coyotes seem to know they left, while the team itself does not.
The NBA does not have the parity of the NHL, but it does have the stars the NHL seems unwilling to promote. With the lockout, no NHL team wins, but the NBA becomes the prime week night sport in viewing season and the only pro sport option after the Super Bowl until baseball. There’s a belief that David Stern sent the NHL Gary Bettman to destroy the hockey markets in North America. By the time Stern retires in 2014, he may finally get his wish.