Asian-American male writers talk about how they do and do not see themselves in Jeremy Lin
But the conflict also reveals something profound about the way the issues supposedly resolved in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement are still unsettled. The lockout was never as much about money as it was about power and who would be allowed to exercise it. There were three contenders, contesting for power: big market owners, small market owners, and the players. We now see that the CBA, done in the name of small-markets teams but still with loopholes aplenty for the big markets, didn’t settle the question.
Stern, in attempting to assert control, weighing in on behalf of the small-market owners, looks like a tin-pot dictator, restricting player movement in a ham-handed, paternalistic, and possibly illegal manner. Most troubling for the NBA is not the griping of Laker fans but the fact that many players took to twitter to express their disbelief. The most noteworthy was Pacers All-Star Danny Granger who tweeted, “Due to the sabotaging of the LA/NO trade by david stern, and following in the footsteps of my athlete brethren Metta World Peace and Chad Ochocinco, I’m changing my last name to “Stern’s Bi#&h” #effectiveimmediately”
By not resolving the question of power, the CBA also didn’t resolve the critical issue at the heart of lockout: the zeal of small market owners - in the wake of Lebron and Chris Bosh joining the Miami Heat - to restrict, own and distribute the talents of their employees. It’s a question at the heart of sports labor conflicts: whether the “talent” on the court is labor, or a product of labor and owned by others. This is why players, always to media outrage, turn at times to the metaphor of slavery and a plantation to explain their predicament. Not because they are comparing themselves to those who suffered under bondage but because owners constantly contest whether they are in fact the masters of their own talents. For players, it’s unclear if they are the occupier of their own gifts and hard work or whether they are the occupied. The NBA’s decision to nix the Chris Paul deal shows that they have perfect clarity on the question. They own the talent and by definition can assert the right of occupation. The only certainty is that, CBA or not, this sets the stage for more conflicts to come.”