By Pedro Heizer
James Spector is a beer vendor at the American Airlines Arena. To people that don’t know him, he as the greatest job around, working while watching his beloved NBA team, but to the ones that know him, they know what this lockout means, “It is extremely tough to know what I barely have enough money to pay for my cell phone bill and gas, let alone rent money” explained Spector.
This is not the story of one, but many of the game operations, beer vendors, food vendors, and the cleaning companies that rely on a paycheck from an NBA team to meet ends meet.
“Right now, I am in a place of wanting and needing another job. It feels like the NBA and NBPA don’t understand that their argument is hurting many others” Spector added, and it sure seems this way.
So what exactly is holding up the negotiations right now? The Basketball Related Income (BRI). In the previous CBA, the players received 57
percent of basketball related income, and now they are asking for 52 percent. The owners on the other hand are firm with their offer of a 50-50 split. There has been new talk among people that Commissioner David Stern has given the NBPA a new proposal, a 51-49 split on the BRI, but it seems as if the players really want that 52 percent. Players are calling Stern’s offer “unacceptable and unfair” according to ESPN basketball analyst Chris Broussard.
It’s estimated that with the game cancelations that have already taken place until the end of November, the NBA will lose $400 Million.
Spector has sent over 300 applications to other jobs but as of today, he has received zero calls of interest, How can we sit here and say
“The fans are the biggest losers in the lockout” when people out there don’t have a job? “Owners have other businesses, they are entrepreneurs, and they have multiple fall backs. The players have an immense amount of endorsements, bookings, events, and other things going on to not even have time to ‘suffer’,” explained Spector, “There are some players that make in one year, what I mightnot make in a lifetime. The workers, like me, are the ‘losers’ because we do not make executive six-figure salaries.”
Not only are team employees out of work, but the restaurants and bars around the arenas are also losing money because of the lockout. For
example, let’s take Miami for example, more than 20,000 people pour into the American Airlines Arena per game. Between the regular season and playoffs, it can mean that as many as 57 times a year, the city of Miami can be booming simply because of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and the rest of the Miami Heat.
“During the NBA season, our business is very good,” explained Andrei Quintan, manager of Botequin Carioca, a Brazilian restaurant across from
the American Airlines Arena. “It’s thought knowing that a lot of the people that would come eat here after a game won’t come anymore because the NBA is locked out. I have a lot of people working here and I can’t keep paying all of them to just sit here every night.”
“What owners and players need to remember that we’ll do something else tonight [instead of watching basketball], eventually, fans will
start to stick with that something else.” Said Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk, “The longer people are away from the NBA, the
more they will realize they can live without it just fine.”