The 2010-2011 NBA season was one of the most dynamic and most exciting in the league’s history — especially for the fans. But, with a lockout that dragged through the entire summer and into the following winter, fans grew weary of waiting and some have now taken it out on the NBA. And, at a time when the NBA can hardly afford it; the league lost $300 million when a new collective bargaining deal couldn’t be reached. The NBA is definitely using the excitement of the Christmas Day start to pump up fans as much as they can and get them back in the doors — but is it enough?
While players certainly aren’t going to be playing for empty arenas it might be hard to get some of the fans back into the spirit of the game as much as they were last year, when arenas were filled to near-capacity every game. In last year’s preseason fans flocked in record numbers, either to the arena or to their televisions, to watch Miami Thrice take to the court. Even with the saved season, it looked as though getting fans back to that level of excitement could have proven to be a difficult task. And then the league denied the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers, and fans seemed to grow angrier. The league seemed to have once again, taken away their chances to watch some good basketball.
The fact that Paul ended up being traded to the Clippers seemed to have softened any soreness on the fans’ part, with his L.A. debut being the largest-viewed game on NBA TV since the debut of the trio in Miami. And with more rumors coming out and trades happening every day, there definitely is a lot to keep fans excited. Not to even mention the fact that the shorter season is going to put much more pressure on all teams, allowing younger teams to move smoothly along while some older, albeit more experienced teams, might start to lag for the first time in years.
There’s definitely a lot to watch for, and there will be a lot to talk about in the coming months. But will fans be as loyal to the game as they were last year? Or were too many lost along the lockout way?