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Fan Disillusionment Will Get Worse


Disillusionment, might be a light word in this case.  It means “A feeling of disappointment, akin to depression, arising from the realisation that something is not what it was expected or believed to be, possibly accompanied by philosophical angst from having one’s beliefs challenged,” according to Wiktionary.  Disappointment, depression and angst will turn into “Oh yeah, I remember Lebron James and Kobe Bryant.”  Fans will turn away in droves.  Stories have been written in the hours since the announcement of cancelled regular season games about how neither the owners or players really care about you.

J.A. Adande, the star of ESPN and Around the Horn, posted that there has been some pretense since the beginning, that a deal was never meant to be done before regular season games would be cancelled.  He says the fans don’t factor into the discussions, calls fans suckers (in the minds of owners and players), he has some realizations of major falsehoods put forth by the owners and the solutions that logically would work and that we all thought the owners had to have, are unlikely if not impossible.

I’m trying to sum up his words but you should read them for yourself.  For an NBA insider for the Worldwide Leader, it is one dramatically damning post.  I don’t think of Adande as a post whore or someone to say things to get a rise out of somebody.  He’s not calling fans suckers or saying how owners and players don’t care about the fans in this whole negotiation to get you to “ooh” or “ahh.”  He’s got no axe to grind and he knows more than I do certainly, often straight from the horse’s mouth.  In other words, these are facts and we’re pretty much screwed.

Whenever I want to step back from things, as I’m constantly in the whole NBA realm and thinking about it, worrying about it and trying to figure the whole thing out, I look to my home page, with just a general sense of the whole lockout deal, it’s easy to see things from a passing fan’s perspective.  If I want to step further away, I talk to my family.  They keep up a little, just because they know I am so involved but they just catch the top of the waves, just the headline facts.  Pops says to me this morning “So they’re not going to play?  They’re still bickering, huh?”  Yeah, Dad, they’re not going to play and they seem happy to do it, which sucks because I don’t have anything to write about and of course, I love basketball and want to see it.  “Ahh, that’s a shame.  I wish I could argue with someone about how to split up billions of dollars a year.”

My homepage showed me an article along the same lines by Tracee Hamilton of the Washington Times.  It’s going to piss people off more than anything.  That’s pretty much what Hamilton is saying and she’s right.  She slams both sides, eloquently and deservingly so.

The headline in the Vancouver Sun by Eric Koreen says it all “NBA will be lucky if casual fans ever care again.”

As I’ve said before, no one really, really cares outside of the warring factions about the issues.  Knowing the players are getting 47% versus 57% will not affect how you watch the game.  Knowing that a team is paying 3 times for every dollar over a certain amount rather than dollar for dollar won’t make you feel differently about the Charlotte Bobcats.  Missing games, a halted season, rookies and new players not being able to gel until February or later, Boris Diaw reluctantly coming back 20 pounds heavier, Gerald Henderson having nagging issues with his hip (akin to Peyton Manning’s deal with his neck) well into the season because he wasn’t able to get treatment with the team, those issues will affect how you watch games and how you spend money and time as it relates to the Charlotte Bobcats and the NBA on the whole.

I worry, if people are saying casual fans won’t come back to the NBA, about my Bobcats.  Casual fans are almost all we have.  Actually, we may only have die-hards and the casual fans are super-casual and barely pay a passing notice to the Bobcats.  The TV numbers certainly show that.  If you figure that the arena holds 19,000 and it’s rarely sold out, and TV ratings say that 15,000 or so watch the games on TV, you can assume that only 30,000 sets of eyeballs are actually on the Bobcats on a given game.  That’s as many as the old arena held for Hornets games.

In a down, questionable atmosphere for the Bobcats in particular, the NBA and the NBPA aren’t doing anyone any favors.  When Billy Hunter says things like “Maybe we have to miss some games to show the owners our resolve,” and David Stern says “We will need to make up for losses,” you know things are bad and getting worse and I don’t think survival will be easy afterwards.

Andrew Barraclough is Senior Editor for RobertoGato.com, a Charlotte Bobcats Blog on the Fansided Network.  Follow him on Twitter @therobertogato and Like the site on Facebook.