Resuscitated NBA season draws mixed local reactions
As NBA owners resolved their monetary differences with players Wednesday, the South Shore’s basketball-loving community offered differing opinions on the resurrection of a season nearly lost.
“The good news is the league is coming back, but the bad news is I’m a lifelong Golden State Warriors fan,” said Dave Barich, who coached basketball at South Tahoe High for eight years and at Whittell for two years. “The NBA has taken so much pride in never having a work stoppage or games missed and have always stuck by that, but once the strike started I thought it might be a long one.”
Others weren’t so receptive to the league resuming next month.
“The NBA epitomizes all of the worst traits in America,” said David Lowe, a 38-year-old elementary school teacher in Carson City. “I really enjoyed not seeing it on television, or hearing the hoops talk from people at work. Oh well, I guess it’s back to business as usual.”
Added local juvenile counselor Mitch Delariva, “I know what I make and I look around at some of the teachers, counselors and social workers and I think, ‘These are the heroes and the ones who should be making the money.’
“Most of them are overpaid. To listen to them bicker about $10 million vs. $30 million or $35 million is outlandish to me.”
Perhaps the happiest to see the NBA season return are the Stateline casinos.
Will Gilliam, a 13-year sports book supervisor at Harrah’s, estimates his sports wagering establishment has lost $100 million in betting volume during the three-month lockout.
“We’re glad to have them back because it’s going to increase our overall volume, but we don’t know what the public perception is going to be. We’re getting college basketball play, but it’s not the volume the pros give us,” said Gilliam, whose book lists the Los Angeles Lakers as a 7-2 favorite to win the NBA championship, with the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz next at 4-1.
Across the street at Harveys Race and Sports Book, where the losses are also “substantial,” the game’s return couldn’t come at a better time with pro football winding down.
“We’re excited to have it back to go along with the college hoops and hockey that we carry on a daily basis,” Probert said. “Our players are just as pleased as we are.”
While breaking for water during a basketball outing at the city of South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation Center, South Tahoe High students David Williams and Adam Hall were happy to see the NBA season revived but the lockout left a negative impact on one of them.
“They all shouldn’t be so greedy. They should all get along. They get paid well. But I’m glad it’s coming back,” said Hall, a Viking sophomore.
The NBA will fill a void in Williams’ life.
“This is good because it’s boring to watch football. This is my sport. I missed the hype with all the dunks and stuff,” said Williams, a STHS freshman.
Sacramento Kings fan Josh Kelly, who recently moved from Paradise, Calif., to South Lake Tahoe, doesn’t believe the short season will help his favorite team. He’ll watch when the season begins, but the wait has left him somewhat bitter.
“It’s greedy of all the players, big-time. They make enough money already. If they really love the game, then they should just play,” Kelly said.
Tribune sportswriter David Gignilliat contributed to this story.
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