It's over. It's finally over. It took far, far too long, but what's done is done. Thankfully, there is basketball once more.
The NBA owners and players reached a tentative agreement on a new CBA, pending official approval, that would bring the 149-day NBA Lockout to a grinding halt. This news comes after the players dissolved the union and league commissioner David Stern said the NBA was headed for a "nuclear winter."
Now, that's a thing of the past, or at least it will be upon the official agreement.
In order for the lockout to officially end, both sides need a majority vote. The owners need 15 of the 29 owners to approve the deal, as the New Orleans Hornets are owned by the NBA. On the players' end, they need the majority of their 430-plus members to approve the deal.
Considering the circumstances (and missed paychecks), all of that shouldn't be an issue.
But while NBA basketball will return to us in the form of a 66-game season starting on Christmas Day, the events of the past four-plus months can't simply be forgotten, and we learned a lot about the true makeup of owners and players.
First and foremost, we learned something that shouldn't be entirely surprising to anyone - greed outweighs all. Sure, the owners and players eventually came together to give fans what they had wanted all along, but not before both sides pushed for as much money as they could. NBA owners began by trying to gouge players of every cent possible, and then NBAPA director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher fought to preserve the wealth of the league's wealthiest.
Also, we learned that, regardless of the league's popularity last season, not all fans are willing to come back. Even on Saturday, when the end of the lockout was reported, it was met with a general shrugging of shoulders from casual fans. It's simple really - people don't look favorable upon billionaires fighting with millionaires in any circumstance, and that will likely cost the NBA in terms of immediate popularity.
Of course, the loyal fans will come right back, but it will take time to recapture the interest of those the NBA lost in the last lockout and in the post-Jordan and post-Bird days, when some fans stopped watching entirely. When it looked like the sport was going away for an entire year, many were content to focus their energy elsewhere - the NFL, NHL and college basketball being particular destinations. In short, it isn't easy to win fan support when your sport isn't there.
So even though the two sides ultimately worked out a deal - one that reportedly features a 49-51 split of basketball related income in favore of the owners - neither side deserves to be portrayed in a positive light. They were both greedy and both put their own well being ahead of that of their product, and more importantly, the fans.