NBA commissioner David Stern announced the canceling of the first two weeks of the season on Monday night and by doing so took another big step toward eliminating the entire basketball season.
The owners would lose money, the players would lose money, and fans would lose a source of entertainment during those cold winter months without the NBA.
But in the grand scheme of things it all doesn't matter.
The most hardcore of fans would undoubtedly be disappointed by the loss of an entire season, but what Stern and the players don't fully comprehend is that the majority of Americans will get on just fine without a NBA season.
(For) hardcore basketball fan this will be something that is missing and you will feel that emotionally, but for most people it won't affect their lives or their income, Dennis Coates, an economics professor at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, told the IBTimes. They will find something else to do.
It's not the outcome sports fan is rooting for -- especially after the excitement of this past summer's NBA Finals -- but NBA doesn't run this sports world.
The NFL is far and away the top dog in the United States followed by MLB in distant second place. It was impossible to avoid NFL lockout coverage all summer, but not surprisingly the NBA lockout has largely gone under the radar.
The passion and the interest in the NBA just aren't there. It could be due to the racial makeup of the league, the streetball reputation that still lingers around, the prima donna nature of some of the players, or some other reason but one thing is clear -- the general public cared a whole helluva lot more about the NFL lockout than this current one.
Further is that the public doesn't seem to generally care or support one side over the other. Generally in labor lockouts, the general public sides with the owners, though it seemed like the NFL players garnered more support in the latest labor negotiations.
But in these current NBA discussions? Nothing but apathy.
The league doesn't generate as much money, have as big of an economic impact, or draw in as good television ratings as the NFL or MLB. The lack of a NBA season could actually help generate some money for fans, as some teams are offering full refunds plus interest to season ticketholders.
Fans will watch more college basketball, college football, or find a new hobby to bide their time. There might be mild sadness that they won't get to watch Dirk Nowitzki take over a game with pullback jumpers, but they can just go see another movie or pick up a new television show. Breaking Bad has generated some great reviews -- maybe they will go watch that.
But the main point is that fans will move on. And if the season is completely canceled, which looks fairly likely at this point, all of that positive momentum generated these past playoffs will be lost. Fans will come back to watch the NBA when it eventually returns, but it will be an even smaller number than currently populate arenas throughout the country.
But they will have developed new hobbies that sap their already-limited free time.
So go ahead David Stern and NBAPA -- cancel the rest of the season as you seemed destined to do.
But don't expect fans to be sitting around waiting for you to come back.
Want to contact this writer? You can email John Talty at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @jtalty.