At this point, we don't know if the 2012 NBA All-Star Game will actually happen. I led my last All-Star Game post with the same line. It might make this whole thing moot. But we need something to hold on to right?
Last time I talked about the All-Star Game it involved a potential leaking of the 2012 All-Star Game logo. It was a pretty nice looking block with a star streaking across the top in true Magic happen. Certainly it was better than the fiesta monstrosity the league came up with for the 1992 game.
It gained generally positive reviews, but shortly after posting the article with an image of the logo, I tweeted Amway Center to ask if it was the All-Star Game's logo. Their answer? A flat-out no.
Well that ended that for a while. We needed something to talk about during the lockout and this was good fodder.
And then I ran across Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com and his story on the evolution of the NBA All-Star logo. And there it was again. The same image I posted in late August plastered on the Magic's official Web site.
I am beginning to think again that this is in fact the official logo for the 2012 All-Star Game (although I am still waiting for confirmation from Cohen I can confirm from Josh Cohen that the image to the left is indeed the 2012 NBA All-Star Logo). Cohen includes it in his tournament of All-Star logos -- there are certainly some interesting ones over the years.
Many many Magic fans, and Orlando citizens, are excited for the All-Star Game to come to Central Florida. The event has grown a bunch since the 1992 event. Even back then it was a big party for the players, but now it is a celebration of basketball that will bring in thousands of visitors to the area in the usually dead mid-February.
Any way you slice it, it will be a nice injection of investment and people to the area. Of course, that is a great thing during these difficult economic times. Many many businesses were counting on the Magic season and the All-Star Game to inject a lot of money into their businesses. With the Amway Center sitting empty right now and the first two weeks of the regular season canceled, Orlando businesses are going to feel the pain of this lockout.
Beth Kassab of the Orlando Sentinel notes that the Amway Center will be empty for all but seven days until the end of the year without Magic games. Almost 70 percent of the events from now until the end of the year at the Amway Center were Magic games. That is a monumental loss for businesses around the arena who rely on the traffic of spectators to fill their coffers.
While the dates until Nov. 14 have been released back to the arenas, it hardly gives them enough time to book new, money-making events in time. The NBA has left the arenas around the league stuck in a very difficult position. And obviously a longer cancellation means more trouble for area businesses.
For a lot of these business owners, it has gone from feast to famine very very quickly in Downtown Orlando without the Magic. And the All-Star Game was a big dessert from that feast.
The Orlando Sentinel has speculated that December is when the hammer may come down on the yearly basketball extravaganza. Until then, preparations will continue as if the game will be played in late February. Until then, it remains on the calendar. The creation/unveiling of the logo is a sign that things are continuing as usual. There is no reason to expect that it won't still happen... not unless the lockout continues.
And if the lockout claims the All-Star Game, then Orlando may not see it again until 2014 with the rumors that Houston has already secured the 2013 game.
Feast or famine indeed.
President Obama 'Heartbroken' About Delayed Start
It took a while, but the first comments from the First Fan about the NBA's lockout have snuck out. President Barack Obama was in Orlando for a fundraising event yesterday (you may have noticed the worse than usual traffic downtown) and informed the crowd that the NBA's cancellation of games has upset him.
President Obama told Dwight Howard he was a little heartbroken over the season's delayed start and was hopeful that an agreement would come soon so the games could go on. No word on what, if anything, Howard had to say when he met the President.
We are still figuring out exactly what went wrong in Monday's late-night negotiating session that led to the cancellation of the first two weeks of games. It sounded like the players and owners were very close to a deal that could have saved the season. Then the blood issues -- the hard cap, non-guaranteed contracts -- came up and talks broke down.
Now, we do not know when the next meeting will be or when the next set of games will be canceled. David Stern said that they will likely come in two-week increments.
Ken Berger of CBS Sports has been one of the best guys covering the lockout. He has done a ton of fantastic work covering this. And he reminds us that Billy Hunter, the executive director of the union, has been preparing and planning for the cancellation of games for a while now. He said very early in this process that if the league intended to cancel games, Hunter and the players would be ready to sit out the year, maybe even the next.
Personally, I think the players have seen the best deal they are going to get. The leverage is all on the owners' side now. They can afford to lose games while the players are not getting paid. Friday's meeting is going to be very key for the players. They have to figure out how long they can hold out and whether they will actually get a better deal. More importantly, they have to figure out if the NLRB will issue a complaint and an injunction to end the lockout or if decertification is an option worth exploring.
The players have to determine their strategy before the next meeting can occur. One thing I know, the sides will get further apart until Stern threatens to cancel the season and then the deadline rush begins again.
Photo via OrlandoMagic.com.