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Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

Episode 136: VC hype vs. Wall Street

Oct 22, 2019

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Marketplace Tech

NBA players, owners feel economic pinch of lockout

Jeff Tyler Aug 1, 2011
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Bob Moon: NBA owners and players head back to the bargaining table today. It’s the first time the two sides have met since owners imposed a lock-out a month ago. In case the season is canceled, star basketball players are talking about getting paid to play in other countries. Could that undermine the owners’ lock-out strategy?

Marketplace’s Jeff Tyler reports.


Jeff Tyler: A Turkish basketball team has been courting All-Stars like Kobe Bryant and Deron Williams. With overseas job offers, elite players are under less economic pressure to cut a deal with team owners. But those are exceptions, says Gabe Feldman, director of Tulane’s sports law program.

Gabe Feldman: I think it’s the rank and file who are more likely to start feeling the economic pressure. And those players are unlikely to get lucrative deals abroad.

Players aren’t the only ones feeling the economic pinch. Some NBA owners say they lose money on games. I asked Feldman: Do you buy that?

Feldman: I think there is some substance that some teams are losing money. I think the number may be overstated, and I think the amount may be overstated.

Owners aren’t so worried about players defecting to teams in Europe. They’re more concerned that NBA players will follow in the footsteps of the NFL: pro football players dissolved their union. That allowed a labor court to step in and end that lockout.

I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

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