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Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Numb to the lockout

By Andy Kamenetzky

Monday's labor negotiations between the players and owners ran so deep into the New York night, they actually bled into my west coast evening as well. After much time spent waiting with one eye on Twitter updates and the other on the Cardinals-Brewers game, I still hadn't eaten dinner. Hungry, I headed to the kitchen and began cooking. Never one to go anywhere without my iPhone, I continued to monitor cyberspace while stove-side. Suddenly, it exploded, as David Stern announced the first two weeks of the season officially canceled.

My reaction? Shrug to myself, then keep making dinner.

I soon sat down to a bowl of Trader Joe's lobster ravioli with sauteed turkey bacon, mushrooms and spinach, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and basil, tossed in olive oil and a touch of butter. Excellent, if I can allow myself a back pat. And this was important because in that exact moment, what I really cared about most was the quality of my supper. The NBA and its contested CBA? Not so much.

Truth be told, I've grown numb to the lockout.

That's not to say I don't care at all about these issues getting solved. That would be disingenuous and insane. This situation affects my livelihood with ESPN, the city I've called home for 21 years, and the state of a team and game I happen to love. Believe me, I badly want this mess to end.

But I've exhausted every emotion I can have over this situation.

A summer where obscene amounts of money can't be divided to everyone's liking reinforces the idea that the league is first and foremost a business. This hardly qualifies as an eyeopener for me after six seasons covering the Lakers and the NBA. Frankly, it doesn't even offend me. There's nothing inherently wrong with making a buck. But there's also nothing inherently fascinating to me about watching the economic sausage get made. I've found everything leading up to this point exceptionally tedious and I'm not even slightly intrigued by the details and strategies of what lies ahead.

Either cut to the chase or leave me out of it.

I never want to hear another player describe basketball as "a game we'd play for free," since these proceedings have clearly disproved that catchphrase. (Not that I expect elite athletes to double as interns, but enough already.) And I won't be able to help but roll my eyes the next time I hear an owner talking about a burning desire to win above all else.

There is a tiny part of me that would still love to go nuts on these and several other talking points. But that wouldn't provide much in the way of actual pleasure, just venting, and I've already done plenty leading up to now. What I want to do most is take a long nap, then wake up to discover a signed agreement.

With each passing day between owners and locked out players, the deeper my desire to just block out basketball. There is simply nothing fun about the game right now, and that is an exceptionally depressing world to live in.