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The two sides are scheduled to meet beginning today, and NBA Commissioner David Stern has said the season will suffer "enormous consequences" if progress isn't achieved. The two lockouts have differences -- the NHL had no cap system or revenue-sharing plan in place prior to 2005 -- but the rhetoric is eerily familiar. Before each, owners had said they lost about $300 million during the previous season, with some small-market operators claiming they would lose less by not playing. Union representatives disputed the severity of the financial woes and dug in against radical economic overhauls. Even some of the names are the same, as five NBA ownership groups -- New York, Philadelphia, Denver, Washington and Toronto -- include NHL franchises in their portfolios. "Ours was a philosophical divide," one NHL executive told The Plain Dealer. "So it was difficult to handicap when the gap [between owners and players] was going to be bridged. Yes, we felt it might take a full season, although we obviously hoped it wouldn't." Cleveland Plain Dealer
The meeting lasted a little more than three hours and reportedly featured NBA commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher, among others. But some of the biggest names guiding a league that annually takes in about $4 billion in revenue were unable to keep the game going. "If the NBA feels the gap [in issues] is just too wide, a lockout is a way of putting pressure on the players to make some more concessions," said Michael McCann, Vermont professor of law and director of the school’s sports law institute. The 2011 NBA lockout coincides with an ongoing three-month NFL lockout. Professional basketball’s work stoppage could ultimately have more in common with a 2004-05 NHL lockout, though, which resulted in a lost season and a fully revamped CBA. Several NBA owners have ties to NHL teams, and hockey has enjoyed a resurgence under its new deal. Salt Lake Tribune
Sports Business Daily has just released a new Harris Poll which indicates that NASCAR is the fourth-most-popular sport in America, ranking ahead of the NBA, the NHL, NCAA basketball, golf and — shocking, I know — the WNBA, among many others. The poll, which surveyed Americans who follow at least one sport, found that 7 percent of respondents named auto racing as their favorite sport. Not bad, considering the competition, but the runaway winner is, of course, the NFL (31 percent), followed by baseball (17 percent) and college football (12 percent). More statistical goodness: the percentage of adults who named NASCAR as their favorite sport in 1985 — you know, the good ol' days — was 5 percent, and it's up 2 percent since then. (Basketball has seen zero growth over that same period, and baseball has seen a decline of 6 percentage points.) Yahoo! Sports
Orlando Magic guard Jason Richardson has done exceptionally well playing a sport that wasn't his first love. He has become wealthy and famous, but playing pro basketball wasn't in his dreams even as he headed into his teenage years. His feet just got too big for his hockey skates. "I really wanted to play in the NHL," Richardson said. "At the time, I think there were only two or three African-American players. I wanted to be the fourth one." Orlando Sentinel
"We were the type of kids in my neighborhood who played everything --- hockey, golf, basketball, football. We didn't look at hockey like it was a black or white sport," he said. "I loved the game. And being from Michigan, we always had frozen water. "Some people used to laugh at us, man. It's uncommon for black kids playing hockey even today. They look at it as a predominately white sport. We didn't discriminate, as long as the sport was fun." Orlando Sentinel
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