The NBA lockout has ended, just in time to avoid losing any games at the start of the season.
What? The lockout wiped out the first two months of the season? My bad!
In baseball and football, the season opener is a big deal. In the NBA, the start of the season creates as much excitement as the Soap Box Derby time trials.
So if nothing else, what the owners and players have done is cause all of us to actually notice the start of the NBA season. We now open the floor to questions.
Q: The season will start with a televised triple-header on Christmas Day?
A: Yes, and because the NBA is sensitive to family issues, the actual Christmas holiday has been rescheduled for Feb. 19.
Q: What did the players give up?
A: In monetary terms, $3 billion over 10 years. I just saw Kobe Bryant checking out the jewelry rack at Rite Aid.
Q: What changes will we notice right away?
A: The old NBA logo, a silhouette of Jerry West, will be replaced by the silhouette of a player and an owner lifting a fan's wallet.
Q: So no bone thrown to the fans? No free churros on opening day? Nothing?
A: One nugget: Both sides agreed that Andris Biedrins, instead of shooting free throws, will be allowed to flip a coin.
Q: What was the tipping point for the settlement?
A: When the owners and players realized that their petty bickering had ruined a perfectly good Kardashian marriage.
Q: Is LeBron James' NFL career now on hold?
A: Not at all. LeBron's secret workouts with the Miami Dolphins will continue.
However, when a guy brags about doing something before he does it, it's usually one of those "hold me back" situations.
Q: Which side is now eating the most crow?
A: The players. The NBA is a talky-talk league. During the lockout, players yapped grandly about their many options, including playing overseas and organizing their own barnstorming league.
Those options turned out to be the equivalent of a front-yard lemonade stand -- cute, but it won't pay the mortgage(s).
Q: What about the player-promoted charity games, and the talk of organized barnstorming?
A: How many times would you buy a ticket to see the bearded lady? NBA players, like newborns, desperately need assistance. The typical NBA player has no clue how to check into a hotel. Tell a player, "You must get from your hotel to the arena on your own," and you are looking at Robinson Crusoe.
Q: What about owners claiming some small-market teams are still in trouble because they simply can't compete for talent and are losing money?
A: That truly is a tragedy, much like last week when a candy-bar vending machine ate my three quarters.
Q: Owners worry that the agreement does not eliminate the scenario in which players can conspire and create their own super-team, like the Miami Heat. Isn't that bad for basketball?
A: That little Miami power play created more excitement than the 24-second clock. Using slickness, power and leverage to create a super-team was never a problem when the creating was being done by fat guys in suits (see: Celtics, Lakers, Knicks). Why is it so terrible when the wheeling-and-dealing is done by the players?
Q: Most enduring image of the lockout?
A: TV footage outside the meetings. Nothing says "dire impending financial doom" like rich people in silk suits or silk T-shirts getting out of limos and strutting into a luxury Midtown Manhattan hotel.
If they wanted fans to take them seriously, the two sides would have met at a Super 8.