The reason is fans. White fans. Who are ebbing away from the NBA. Buzz Bissinger (author, Friday Night Lights) saw this one coming, sort of. He noted the White fans have no one to root for:
I don’t think talking about any of this makes me a racist. I believe it makes me a realist. White fans want white superstars, or in the case of the NBA, at least one white American superstar. Unless the ghosts of Bird and John Havlicek and Jerry West return to the floor, that isn’t going to happen. And since it isn’t going to happen, the NBA will continue to struggle with an identity crisis that no one wants to publicly acknowledge.
Nor is there any way to change the reality since black players are better, stronger, faster, and have more basketball intelligence than any of their white counterparts. If anything, the percentage of white American players will continue to fall. The league is not going to move to the absurdity of a quota system. So maybe the best thing for whites to do, including myself, is accept the fact there will be no white hope, drop the work-ethic fallacy, and revel in a game that is embedded more than ever with beauty and grace and strength and acrobatics.
Except White fans cannot be guilted into "follow the NBA and put money in owners pockets or you'll be called a racist." That is effective one-on-one where White guys comply or lose opportunities with girls, jobs, and socialization. But it fails miserably where there is no penalty for not watching the NBA, not going to games, and not buying merchandise.
Whites do not really care to follow sports where they cannot identify with the players. Or let us narrow that down, White men (the sports fan base) do not care to follow sports that are nearly all Black and have all the superstars Black. Which endorse and follow the Black rap/hip-hop model. The owners cannot force the White fans to give them money. This is what the lockout is all about.
The entire sports complex is running out of money. The NHL had a season long lockout in 2004-5. The NFL had a Summer long lockout that killed the exhibition season. Money is starting to get tight. Cable rights fees are no longer able to sustain year-on increases because cable TV and sports are discretionary items for cash-strapped men. And sports featuring nearly all-Black leagues have little appeal. Yes, most White fans will agree that the Black athletes are superior to White ones. They just don't care that much. Not enough to keep paying cable or satellite TV fees to watch them. Even less to pay to see them in person, or buy their merchandise. The "Los Dodgers" have been forced into a sale, the root cause of which is that Fox which bought them in the first place was desperate to dump them to a charlatan. Who proved incapable of running the team and used it as a piggy bank as the demographic wave transforming LA made the stadium into a Mexican gang-ridden war zone.
The NBA has about $4 billion in revenue. The problem is that vastly inflated player salaries were predicated on: 1. The NBA making money in China which never happened; 2. Increasing money extracted from TNT and NBC (which never happened); and 3. Increasing arena admissions/revenue and merchandising money, which never happened. Costs are spiraling out of control and the NBA's "all-in" bet on 100% Rap and Black has been a poor one.
The NBA is basically stuck with a Black rap player base. Bissinger is correct, Black players at the extreme of performance are simply better. The best players will always be, nearly all but not exclusively Black. Which in turn is a major factor in White fan apathy. No one really cares, if there is not a nightly parade of huge Black men lumbering down the court, traveling, and dunking the ball and then beating their chest like rappers (the move was copied from Rap videos). White male fans just cannot identify. Besides Bissinger is wrong, while the NBA players have amazing physiques that demonstrate a rigorous diet and demanding workouts, most players coast through the season, and often the playoffs, Expending minimal effort in defense, no team play, and little sense of hustle. They coast on their talent and gym work, not skill and dedication. Shaq's abysmal free throw percentage is indicative of generally poor preparation for anything other than general fitness. Many other active players have similar bad stats for free throws, rebounds, defense, hustle and so on.
Besides, they're Black. Which means, a culture and identity far removed and alien (and also supremely uninteresting) to most White fans. They don't hate. They just don't care. Ordinary White guys in their own lives cannot boast and brag. They can't beat their chest when they do something they are expected, day in and out, to accomplish. They can't pose, mock opponents, and preen. The behavior and culture of Black athletes is as foreign and uninteresting to them as say, Eskimos or Mongolians. Black athletes aside from being a different skin color (it is natural and universal to prefer people of one's own race, a point made in Brown v. Board of Education in point of fact, regarding the "un-natural" desire of Black girls to play with White dolls, and the considerable effort of Bratz and Barbie to provide Black and Hispanic dolls), their behavior on-field and on-court is something White guys find distasteful. The virtues that White guys prize (because it is what they are expected to do): show up every day, work hard, don't complain, achieve and act like you always expected to do so, grace under pressure aka "don't choke," just are not there for almost all Black athletes.
White athletes who "act Black" generally find a chilly reception among fans. Tom Brady, known for arrogance, bling, glamorous wives/girlfriends, funny hairstyles, has not been embraced nationally the way say, Peyton Manning (Mr. Aw-Shucks who mocks himself) or Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers has. And the man won three Superbowls. That's only one less than Joe Montana! Tom Brady is not just an excellent, but outstanding Quarterback, and White fans generally don't like him.
White fans give their love, and affection, to teams and players who embody their values and encapsulate their fantasy of what they'd like to be, if they were only stronger, taller, faster, and younger. Sports is a voluntary thing, no player, team, or league is owed a fan's money or time. Those that don't deliver, can get dropped. In favor of Call of Duty, or the latest movie, or an old one (on Netflix or Amazon), or an e-book, or a thousand different things.
The NBA is just going to have to live with its decision to go all-Black. A lot less money. The NFL would do well to pay attention. Though likely it won't. Quite likely, the season will be done. The owners will draft the college kids leaving school, a few retirees, club players, and foreign ones, and call it "your NBA!" Games will start next season, and players, not having a lot of money to fall back on, will dribble in. Taking a lot less money (which likely was the owners intention anyway).
The main beneficiary (ala Hugh Hewitt, you know who this benefits?) will be the outsider sports: MMA, Hockey, Soccer, and Rugby. Of them all, Hockey having the most games on (Versus and local hockey team affiliates) now will stand to gain the most. The sport is not that hard to pick up, is very fast paced (more so than Basketball), scoring is lower (so every goal counts), the players nearly all White, and team play paramount. Next in line will be the MMA, featuring mostly White athletes, lots of excitement, and a new higher profile on Fox having moved from Spike TV. Soccer of course has a SWPL connection, but has many teams like the English Premier League with a number of White players. Rugby is dominated by burly White guys with a smattering of Samoans. While the French soccer team is nearly all Black/North African, the Rugby team is all White. It is similar to American Football, but without pads or unlimited substitutions. Rugby is hampered by the division (confusing for outsiders and newcomers) between Rugby Union (for the upper classes), Rugby League (for the working classes, professionals), Australian Rules Football, Rugby Sevens, and so on. Plus, TV coverage is spotty and mostly limited to pay channels (limiting sampling).
Hockey seems the main winner, it is the easiest to watch on TV for most fans. Followed by the MMA.
Professional and amateur sports have a value in society. Given that so few other bonding institutions exist, to allow pride in one's culture and community, as Church attendance has fallen off a cliff, and voluntary associations like the Kiwanis and Elks Lodges have aged into irrelevance (no new members), professional sports are all that's left for many White Americans. Steve Sailer makes the argument that PC and Multiculturalism have made pride in White America something that can never be overtly expressed, lest the elites and PC enforcers punish you. Thus sports and professional sports figure into the only identities that are allowed to be expressed any more. You cannot be proud to be, say a White American from Chicago, but you can root for the Bears. That's a poor trade-off, and one that is not ultimately sustainable because eventually an all-Black Chicago Bears team turns off even the most avid White supporter, eager to express any identity at all. The growth of Hockey in places like Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, and San Jose not to mention Anaheim which are not historic Hockey hotbeds reflects a search for a permissible White identity.
Either one of two things will happen. Either Whites will abandon any overt expression of any identity at all and retreat into cyberworld, a Facebook, Angry Birds, Call of Duty, Zynga Games driven existence, as the elites maintain total and complete control, or Whites will start to rebel as they did before, against elite opinion on how to act and live their lives.
And we know how Prohibition turned out.