The National Basketball Association and the owners of the NBA teams have removed all images, videos and statistics about the players from all their digital properties as a result of the collective bargaining agreement gridlock and the resulting lockout of players from NBA activities. The NBA's vaunted StatsCube, an advanced statistical analysis tool on NBA.com, is disabled.
One could probably make a case for either side being greedier, or more in the wrong, in the NBA lockout. The players are making millions and the owners are as well. When two groups of millionaires fight over money, fans of more modest means might care little about who wins. Just play the game we love to watch, we say. How you split up the money is your business.
But both sides should remember that the source of both of their millions of dollars is the fans. And that is who this removal of information from NBA websites hurts. Yes, the stats and photos and videos help the players in their own personal branding. But if the NBA wants fans to stick around during the lockout, they may want to remember who buys the tickets to games, who buys the jerseys, who plays the videogames featuring NBA stars, and who owns the TV sets that get tuned in to NBA games. Two groups of millionaires are fighting, and it's the fans who are already losing.