A lot has changed in the NBA from the days of Chamberlain and Abdul-Jabbar, namely the amount of power the players have now.
As the sport has evolved and NBA players themselves have turned into standalone businesses – or brands, as seems to be the more-preferred terminology these days.
NBA Players Have All the Power
The Ben Simmons situation in Philadelphia got the Full Court Sound Off podcast thinking: when did this power shift toward the players begin, how did it happen, and what will this mean for the future?
Michael Jordan was a business and could essentially do as he pleased, but could Scottie Pippen? Over the last 25 years, that level of power – or some version of it – has extended to more and more players, with the sport’s growth, the money in the NBA swelling, endorsements adding more to players’ pockets, and other factors.
And now a player who still has four years left on his deal has said he will not fulfill his commitment, and Solomon and Justin have different thoughts on that.
It extends to the vaccine situation in the NBA, where a vast majority of the players are vaccinated against COVID-19 but an outspoken minority are making their opposition known. The league has not mandated the vaccine for its players, and it’s questionable if it could really even do so if it wanted, which it probably would prefer to better ensure as many games as possible will be played with all the best players possible. But with so much power in the hands of the players, there’s only so much the league’s front offices can do.
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Solomon and Justin also talk about the ongoing WNBA Playoffs, which are now about to begin its semifinals, with the Chicago Sky and Connecticut Sun locked into a five-game series and the Phoenix Mercury and Las Vegas Aces in the same situation.
After the Mercury beat the Seattle Storm in the second round to earn a bid in the semifinals, Brianna Turner took to Twitter to complain about fans approaching and bothering her in the lobby of the hotel and at baggage claim. This too brings out some opinions from the FCSO duo, with Justin in particular thinking Turner and anyone else in the public eye accept the negatives of their job like the rest of us do (though having strangers accost you during a global pandemic is certainly less than preferable).
She did issue a further explanation (see above) after we recorded the podcast that explains more of where she was coming from a bit better, and it makes Justin more willing to accept her point of view.