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Sports View

Sun Advocate publisher

To the NBA players and owners.

Go ahead ruin your fan base. That's what you are doing.

Now I know the real deep into the NBA fans won't go away. But guys like me, who go to a couple of games a year and follow the Jazz on television, we are the ones you are going to lose over this millionaire vs. billionaire argument you are having.

Remember the other lockout you had and how hard it was to get fans back? It will be worse this time, because all of us remember that too and how the league actually digressed immensely after it. Times have changed. Watching the WNBA this summer has made me think about what real basketball is about; not jamming the ball into the hole so hard that you break the backboard, but strategy and skills beyond the dunk.

In this day and age of people losing their homes, having little to eat and all of us facing a much longer time to retirement because rich guys have ruined our pension portfolios (if we are able to retire at all) do you think we really care what a bunch of guys wearing $3,000 suits who can bounce balls do? If anything we are getting less and less inclined to care.

This year Salt Lake will have a new attraction in the winter. Real Pac-12 basketball. Okay Utah may be picked to finish in the bottom of the league, but like I said last year about football, I don't care if they lost all their games this fall. It is still a lot more fun watching Pac 12 teams than it was seeing the same lousy teams the school had been playing for the last 100 years.

Besides, each year since Stockton and Malone the Jazz have come up with what looked like a magical combination to take us back to deep in the playoffs. Then they failed. People like to blame Jerry Sloan for that, but it's the cry baby players. I see no one on the present (if it existed) team that has the work ethic of Malone, Stockton, or Hornacek. Well, maybe Hayward and Millsap. But then go back to the old NBA days of Hondo (John Havlicek), Willis Reed and Elgin Baylor and you really see what it was about.

I know as one fan I don't count much. But I feel bad; once a real strong Jazz fan, I found myself rooting for, of all teams, Dallas, because Nowitzki is so great (and hard working and genuine). Why has it taken the foreign players to make us see how really stupid so many of our American born players are?

Playing basketball in the NBA is a privilege; something those of us who blew our knees out in county rec ball or pick up games in someones driveway dreamed of at one time or another. It's not that I think you shouldn't get paid, but should you (and movie stars as well) get paid so much that it is obscene, that it makes the people that really impact our lives (teachers, waitresses and waiters, truck drivers, coal miners, etc, etc, etc.) seem minor by comparison because of your round ball status.

We need a Tea Party or a group of 99 percenters to go march on the pro-basketball palaces around the nation and tell them what we really think. We need to send them a message that just because most of us make less in a year than even the low average player on the bench makes in a game, that we are still the ones that count. We are the ones that pay for the tickets, watch the advertising loaded games on television and buy the stupid jerseys with their names on the back of them.

On second thought, I hope every average fan like me, just doesn't go to anymore games. With the money I spent on four or six tickets a year to go watch rich men play a game I used to love, I could do a lot more things with my grand-kids.

And I don't think they will ever go on strike against me or be locked out of my house because they want more than I can give.

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