The NFL had a lock-out that lasted most of the summer. When the two sides there reached an agreement, the summer was over. But the end result to fans? One preseason game - the Hall of Fame Game - was cancelled. While free agency, team workouts and getting draft picks signed were all dramatically different, the average fan knows one very simple reality: football goes on.
When the NFL season is supposed to start in early September, it will. From a very basic perspective, football didn't miss a beat.
After the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat to win their first NBA championship, the same fate that took football players away from their normal routine hit basketball players. But the circumstances are overwhelmingly different between the NFL and NBA.
With the NFL, the issues were both financial and systemic; player safety and the long-term impact of playing a violent game on the bodies of football players was a major consideration. For basketball, the issues are 100 percent financial.
In fact, it appears "lock-out" might be the wrong word for the current labor issues in the NBA.
NFL players had nowhere to go; the CFL doesn't pay the way the NFL does, and the game is different. Same story with arena football. For the NFL, the end-game was simple: get a deal done or sit at home.
As you may have heard, NBA players have options.
Deron Williams has already signed a deal to play ball in Turkey. The same team that signed Williams is reportedly chasing Kevin Durant, and rumors are swirling that Kobe Bryant might take his game overseas. Rookie Kyle Singler signed a deal to play in Spain this season, and Ron Artest as been negotiating with a team in London. All of these contracts will have the option for the player to leave immediately if the NBA season is set to begin.
The fact is, basketball isn't as physically demanding as football, and can be played anywhere. And money will be played for elite players to take their talents anywhere - except South Beach.
Williams reportedly signed for $5 million in Turkey. There are rumors that Bryant, Durant and Dwyane Wade have heard the phrase "million per month" with a number in front of it.
The only reason the NFL got their deal done when they did was a sense of urgency. The big-time names of the game - Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees - were personally identified on a lawsuit of the NFL; the superstars and the average, roster-filling player were stuck in the same scenario: no play, no pay.
The superstars in the NBA will not share the same sense of urgency that the bottom-feeding role players will during this lockout. As long as Williams can get paid in Turkey and his teammate in New Jersey, Kris Humphries, is marrying a Kardashian (and her... bank account...), why would either one of them ultimately care if Dan Gadzuric or Marshon Brooks gets a penny?
With major issues to resolve and players still getting paid, fans shouldn't bank on seeing their favorite NBA teams on the court any time soon.