Tip-Off Timer: Last League Lockout Claimed 32 Games
The last time the word "lockout" was a common refrain in NBA coverage was, well, back in 2005, when the league threatened players with a lockout if reforms to the pay scale weren't agreed to.
But the only reason a deal got done in 2005 was because the actual lockout of 1998-99 was so devastating.
David Stern and the players union couldn't reach a deal on a collective bargaining agreement in the summer of 1998 ... or the fall of 1998 ... or most of the winter of 1998. A deal was reached in January 1999, forcing the cancellation of 32 regular seasons and the All-Star Weekend. The competitive season was a bit of a disaster, with offenses suffering due to the long layoff and a shortened preseason schedule.
The Knicks famously got to the Finals as one of the best eighth seeds ever. There, New York fell to the Spurs, lead by the twin towers of Tim Duncan and David Robinson. While I'm sure Spurs fans enjoyed that title just fine -- and who could blame them -- the whole production felt a little cheap. (Thankfully, the Spurs legitimized their dynasty by winning three more rings.)
As a lockout looms ahead in 2011, the league and its players out to continue to direct a scornful eye at the '98-99 disaster ... and the 2005 success, where both sides made concessions and got a deal done in time to avoid delays.