In 2011, the Sports World saw two of its biggest leagues (the NFL and the NBA) have the spotlight shined upon them. This spotlight was strange in that it did not shine the brightest during the Super Bowl or the NBA Finals. Those events, while highly publicized, happen once a year and are expected. This year was different, the most talk both of these leagues had was whether or not they would even have a season, if the players and the owners could work out a compromise on how to separate the money generated. While these situations sound similar they are in actuality completely different for one very important reason.
Here is an analogy for the situations the NFL and NBA faced:
Imagine you are on a deserted island with one other person. You need to eat and decide that fishing will be the best way to go about it. You, the owners, have a fishing pole but the other person, the players, is much better at fishing and will provide you with better results. So you hand over your fishing pole to the other person and they begin fishing. Here is where the stories separate for the NFL and the NBA. In the instance of the NFL, the other person does an excellent job fishing and pulls in 25 big fish (more than enough for the both of you). In the instance of the NBA, the other person has a bad day and pulls in one measly fish and is busting your fishing pole in the process, costing you resources. How much easier is it to separate the fish when you have more than enough versus when you do not? (Note: I am not saying the owners and players of the NBA are starving, this was just an analogy to demonstrate the prosperity of the NFL versus the NBA)
This is where the NFL and NBA found themselves this year. The NFL is a $9 billion a year industry and had a lockout based upon the fact that the owners and players could not compromise on how to separate the great prosperity they are having. The NBA lost about $300 million last year and is having a lockout based upon the fact that two sides differ greatly on how much money they are worth.
Situation such as these happen all the time. It is easier for Mark Zuckerberg to give the Winklevoss twins millions of dollars to settle a dispute over who created Facebook when he is making billions each year. It is much more difficult to determine who gets what in a company that is failing to break-even.
Greed is not good, it will tear two sides apart from each other and before you know it both sides lose. Compromise, ingenuity, and prosperity are the way to create a win-win situation. The two sides of the NBA need to work out a plan that will make the league money first and then worry about separation of profits after. Isn’t one of the first life lessons parents teach their children is how to share?