Friday, September 30, 2011
Udonis Haslem on labor talks
By Henry Abbott
After attending his first collective bargaining session on Friday, the Miami Heat's Udonis Haslem spoke briefly to a small group of reporters on a New York City sidewalk:
Everybody wants a deal, but it's another thing to see it. I see that everyone really wants a deal and we're working towards that. Still positive that we can start this season and get something done.
Can you sense any progress?
Like I said, it's my first deal, so it's hard for me to gauge any progress.
What was the mood in there. Was it amiable, or contentious at all?
No it was calm. Not a lot of fighting. [Note.]
It was interesting to hear some of the owners' points, which are very valid points. We understand that. Our points are valid as well.
I don't think anybody's going to win per se. We don't want to get over on them, and we don't want them to get over on us. We just want something fair for both sides. And play ball, man. It'd be a shame if the way things have been going, the way the season ended last year and everything like that, it'd be a shame not to have a season.
Do you leave here today optimistic?
Yeah. Because I heard both sides. And both sides want a deal.
Who did most of the talking?
Is there a sense of "now or never" in that room?
No, I don't think think it's a sense of now or never. I think it's a sense of OK, throwing ideas around and let's actually work toward making these ideas happen. It's one thing to bounce ideas off one another. It's another thing to put forth the effort to make those deals happen and make these things happen in order for us to get rolling.
And that's where we're at now.
You start to understand this might really be a reality, what we're facing here. I don't want that to be the case. I'm here to show support for the players, first, but also to listen to what the owners have to say.
There were no threats of canceled seasons?
No. Nobody was talking like that. I was surprised. There's so much bad stuff. Nobody really says the good stuff that's come from the meetings. To be part of the meetings, I was really encouraged.
Did you hear enough of both sides willing to find a middle ground?
Yeah. I heard enough to really believe in my heart that both sides will work tirelessly to find a middle ground. I don't know if that will happen.