NBA to lock out players from its Web sites

If the NBA locks out its players at midnight, all images and videos of the players on NBA Web sites must disappear. It may well be that even the mere mention of their names will be verboten.

These things feel less like a labor dispute and more like a parking space argument at a country club bar between two Bentley drivers.

Still, it seems that at midnight tonight, the NBA will lock out its players.

You might imagine this will cause great pains to the players. They tend not to be great money managers. Indeed, 60 percent of them are said to go bankrupt within five years of retirement.

However, please spare a thought for those slightly less wealthy people who man the NBA's Web sites. You see, it will be their task to remove all the images and videos of players from those sites. When the rich, besuited owners lock out the players, they must not attempt to make money from the same people whom they are suddenly refusing to pay.

So down must come those warlike images of Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest. Down must come video of LeBron James proving just why he is King of the Dolts, rather than the Dunks.

Here is a glimpse of NBA.com for nostalgics. Yes, on the left is the Lakers' Derek Fisher. Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Essentially Webmeisters must suck out all of this content and replace it with a simple wire frame version that will feature, oh, who knows, pictures of Commissioner David Stern lying on the beach, perhaps. Oh, and a cheerleader or two, of course.

ESPN.com quotes one of an NBA team's web administrators as saying: "We're going back to the stone ages of the Internet. It's all going to be very dumbed down."

Some might be tempted to discuss the concept of dumbing down at some length here. On the one hand, it's not as if NBA Web sites represent the apogee of intellectual discourse. They are marketing tools desperate to appeal to the inner emotional workings of the needy. They want to engender that particular form of excitement that leads to pocket-opening.

However, if, as some are reportedly arguing, these sites won't even be able to mention the players' names, it should make for an especially enlightening Web experience. It'll be like the Chinese version of Google, just after the local censors performed their most meticulous work.

So as you say a prayer your own favorite player--oh, Monta Ellis, I have some old Anthony Randolph shirts you can wear--please spare a thought for the folks caught in the Web.

They will have to spend long and lonely nights removing images and videos, while the Bentley drivers sup at their martinis and consider just how many millions it is reasonable for each of them to take.

 

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