'What You Got'
By Brian Wheeler Posted in: Blazers
On his “Walls and Bridges” album (yes, they were albums back then!), the late, great John Lennon had a song entitled, “What You Got”. Had a very telling line, “you don’t know what you got until you lose it.” John was referring to a lost romance, but I think the song aptly applies as well to the NBA.
For 149 days, we waited anxiously through a lockout, not certain if the NBA would have a 2011-2012 season. Since the last lockout in 1998, we had enjoyed seamless transitions from season to season without any serious labor problems between the players and owners. We had come to expect that every October, teams would start training camp. A week later, pre-season games would start, and then right around Halloween, another regular season would begin. Playoffs would get underway in late April, and a new champion would be crowned in mid-June. In late June, we’d have the NBA draft. In July, we’d have the summer league, and in October, the process would start all over again.
But this time around things were different. After the draft in June, the lockout began on July 1st. So there was no summer league. October rolled around, and training camps didn’t begin as usual. Neither did pre-season games a week later, or the start of the regular season in late October. November came calling, and still no deal to give us basketball as we were accustomed to. Finally, on Thanksgiving weekend, with the entire season in jeopardy, a deal was reached, ensuring we would have basketball again at Christmas time. Not 82 games like we normally would enjoy, but 66 squeezed into a compressed regular season that will end a week later than expected, leading to a post-season that will also go a week longer than originally planned.
But at least we have the NBA back! And if you’re like me, perhaps you didn’t realize how much you’d miss it until you missed it. Hopefully, that makes sense. I know I took the NBA for granted. And now that it has returned, I promise to never do so again!
I can’t replace the emotion I feel when the Rose Garden is rockin’ like no other NBA arena can. When fans on the street want to know how the Blazers are going to do on their upcoming road trip. When callers to talk shows on the radio or TV want to debate who should be in Nate’s lineup in the 4th quarter with the game on the line. When we can all call it a great day to be a Blazer when the good guys win and somewhere else, the Lakers lose. With all due respect to the other sports’ teams in the region, this city, this state, comes alive when the NBA season is in full swing and the Blazers are cranking out victories on a regular basis.
Sports in general have a way of bringing people together, from all walks of life. And around here, nothing accomplishes that quite like the NBA and the Trail Blazers. I heard so often during the lockout that fans didn’t need pro basketball. They could survive without it. Well, I believe most fans could survive without their favorite sport. But they couldn’t thrive without it. We’re all better off now that the NBA is back and the regular season is rolling.
So in speaking for my fellow broadcasters, Tone, Mike, and Mike, let me say we’re thrilled to be able to call all the action of the season we’ve finally gotten around to. Better late than never as someone once said, and he or she was probably a sports fan! For you don’t know what you got until you lose it. And thankfully, we got the NBA and the Blazers once more, and I hope we never lose them again!