Players are making more money than ever, too, despite those concessions. And while more money might create more reasons to fight, the opposite could also be true: It might convince everyone not to mess with a good thing. And there are an increasing number of voices on both sides who believe the latter axiom just might win the day. “The recognition is that this is an embarrassment of riches for both sides, and what’s the point?” said a longtime observer with intimate knowledge of NBA labor relations.
In 2017-18, basketball-related income could exceed $7 billion, with the players earning 51 percent, or $3.57 billion. “You miss a third of the season, you lose a billion dollars,” the longtime observer said. “What are you going to gain? The numbers are just so extraordinarily high.”
Some agents believe Roberts is still determined to opt out of the labor deal, based on her heated rhetoric. But most of the sources who spoke to Bleacher Report believe Roberts is simply sending a message to NBA officials—”I’m no pushover”—and that she recognizes this deal is benefiting her constituents.
SI.com attended the taping of the Players’ Awards, seated at a floor table with two other media members, union staffers and BET public relations executives. For a launch event conceived by a union that hasn’t exactly been known for its competency over the years, The Players’ Awards did surpass expectations on a number of levels.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver might be hip enough to recite his favorite Jay-Z lyric, as he did in a recent interview, but the taping of this show would surely have made him blush on multiple occasions. For example, Pharoah joked that Spurs legend Tim Duncan was “so old that he picked the cotton that made his uniform,” a line that somehow made the cut for the broadcast.