Deron Williams flattens the world
Now, I don’t know if it’s the best move for Deron personally. He’s up for his new, huge NBA contract in a year, so what if he gets injured?
I also don’t know if it’s best for American basketball fans. Right now, if you want to be considered the best n in the world, you simply have to play in the NBA where us Americans get prime viewing access. Should there be a diaspora of talent overseas, maybe I get to see less of the best players in the world, and maybe when I do see them, it’s against weaker talent than now.
Still I get a real kick out of the move. In a world where “the world is flat” has come to mean a euphemism for regular people losing jobs, Williams has turned that on its head.
Globalization and Labor
In general, what globalization does is diminish the power of the labor pool is the wealthiest pockets of humanity. If I can find someone else to do your job for cheaper because it costs less to live elsewhere, you better lower your salary demands, or you’ll be out of a job.
Frankly, America has a real reckoning coming on this front that it still hasn’t grasped, and the actions of a few star athletes won’t change this. Still it’s fun to see how the same game can play out differently.
I’ll admit to someone in general being pro-union. Not that they never do stupid things, but typically, employees don’t try to unify unless they see their rights get picked off by being played against each other, which has certainly happened in professional sports.
Additionally, while if I represented the players I would be willing to negotiate, I find it hard to be sympathetic to business owners who know their revenues and costs, and make decisions that end up guaranteed to lose them money. The reality is that anyone who acts like this isn’t acting like a businessman, he’s acting like a hobbiest. Nothing against a hobbiest, but don’t come crying to me when you lose money on your hobby.
Don’t hate the player…
Now, people like to say “If it wasn’t for basketball, these guys would be bagging groceries”, and there’s truth to that, but the NBA is not basketball, it’s simply a league of basketball. We as a society of deemed being skilled at basketball to be something we’ll contribute money too, and hence someone with 1 in a 1,000,000 talent like Deron Williams gets a lot of money.
If the NBA disappeared tomorrow, Williams would still get a lot of money, whereas if all the NBA stars boycotted in the NBA, the NBA would die. That’s the power of being immensely talented at something that brings in money.
In the midst of this NBA lockout, Williams’ choice should send a shockwave through NBA management. If this becomes any kind of trend, the Association’s bargaining power will become significantly diminished.
Of course let’s not be too dramatic: These European league can’t pay what the NBA can. However, this is not like the NFL where there truly is not a place where players can make large amounts of money, and the NBA had better recognize this.