The NBA Lockout was a major obstacle for the 2011-2012 NBA season, and fans all over America were worried about the chance of there being no season at all. I know I would have been disappointed and devastated if there were no season.
Luckily, though, for this 10-year-old basketball fan, there is going to be one. Even a shortened season is better than nothing. However, now the whole issue of the asterisk begins.
It all started with what legendary coach Phil Jackson said about the Spurs in 1999, after the first lockout-shortened season. The San Antonio Spurs (my favorite team—that’s me with the championship trophy!) won the championship that year, but Jackson made fun of them by saying their championship will always have an asterisk by it since it was a shortened regular season (only 50 games). He was hinting that the ‘99 Spurs did not deserve their rings. Obviously, you can tell there are not a lot of Phil Jackson fans in San Antonio after that comment… including me!
This whole concept of an entire season having an asterisk by it would be very unfair to the players. For example, this year’s rookies would know that, even if they played an amazing season and won Rookie of the Year, it would always have that asterisk by it. It would be the same unfortunate scenario for whichever team wins the NBA championship. The NBA champs would not like seeing an asterisk next to their team name in the record books. Why can’t it just be a regular championship?
It would be sad if, because the owners and players had a temporary disagreement over contract terms, there were always a permanent mark against the 2011-12 players and teams. It just doesn’t seem right.
However, it does seem like they are at least trying to make this shortened season a better situation than 1999. In ’99 there was no All-Star Weekend, which meant there was no All-Star Game and no slam dunk contest. Thankfully, this year they are having the All-Star festivities (Orlando, Florida in February).
In my opinion, this whole asterisk thing needs to go away. Let’s just get this season started and play some basketball. This year’s champions deserve to be treated like all the previous years' champions. It is not their fault that the season was interrupted.
Steve Kerr, a member of the ’99 Spurs, said it best when he was talking about his championship ring: "There's no asterisk on the ring." I have to agree with Steve on this one.