NBA Lockout: Past and Present

Sep 21, 2011
by: andrewa


The NBA lockout is something that all basketball fans were hoping to avoid, but this isn’t the first time in recent years that fans have had to deal with a lockout.  The 1998-1999 NBA season was locked out as well, due to the same failure of reaching a new collective bargaining agreement that we are facing today.  During this previous lockout, owners of teams locked out players because they were losing money, and players eventually agreed to a stricter salary.

1998-1999 NBA Lockout: Owners claimed to be losing money, reopened the CBA in March 1998 and locked out the players in July. About half the season was lost. Players ended up agreeing to a much more strict salary scale, but did get a raise on minimums.”


Eventually, the the 1998-1999 NBA season started, but it was three months later then usual.  The lockout cost teams thousands of dollars and some popular games (Christmas games and the All-Star game) could not be played.

NBA Opening Night took place much later than usual twelve years ago, as the league opened its 1998-99 season on February 5, 1999.  An ugly lockout cost the NBA the first three months of its season, including its Christmas Day games (Bulls/Knicks and Lakers/Suns that year) and the 1999 NBA All-Star Game in Philadelphia.  The lockout marked the first (and so far, only) time in NBA history that games were lost due to a work stoppage.  Ratings held up fairly well during the lockout-shortened season. NBC’s regular season ratings were off just 7% from 1997-98, and the net’s playoff coverage (prior to the Spurs/Knicks NBA Finals) dropped a modest 16% from ’98.


Now, twelve years later, another lockout is threatening the 2011-2012 season.  Players and owners are still very polarized on how they feel about a new CBA, so it’s starting to look like we will be seeing a shorter NBA season this year, that is if we even get to see one at all.  This loss of work for the players in the NBA has caused many players to go to teams overseas in Europe and Asia, just to play basketball and maintain a salary.  

“When the New Jersey Nets prized mid-season acquisition, Deron Williams, announced he'd be taking his talents to Turkey to play for Besiktas -- the club that signed Allen Iverson last season -- signing a one-year deal worth $5 million with an opt out clause if the strike is resolved...Taking a look at how players have responded to the move, however, suggests Williams may have been onto something.”