NBA basketball is one of my passions. I’ve been a Utah Jazz fan since I was in the womb. When Karl Malone would dunk the ball, my little fetus fist-pumps would almost send my mom into early labor. From childhood on up, I’ve spent many hours sitting with friends and family, consuming pallet-loads of cholesterol-soaked food-like products with names like “Bakon-Bursted-Ched’r-N-Tater-Blocks,” all while watching my hooping heroes dance their majestic ballet across the stage.

And, in the great tradition of totally biased fans, I love having loud conversations with my television while watching the game.

“What, Jackson, you didn’t like the call? Then maybe you shouldn’t have tried to remove Price’s eyeballs with your elbow.”

“How do you miss two free throws? That’s your job! To make free throws! Free! Do mailmen miss the mailbox?”

“Hey, ref, make sure to NEVER CALL Kobe for traveling when he does that hop-hop-hop-shoot thing. That would make the sport WAY TOO FAIR. Let’s make sure the super-talented, attractive, rich guy gets a chance to score.”

Occasionally, when the Jazz are losing (which is more frequent than I care to admit), I settle into a bit of a funk, and I start to sound a little bit like somebody’s grandfather.
“Is this a basketball game, or a tattoo pride parade?”

“That (swear word) ogre Fesenko makes more money in one year than everyone I know combined, and he couldn’t hold on to the (expletive) ball if someone spread (profanity) peanut butter all over it. The Jazz should just buy a (vulgar curse) $1.5 million hot water bottle to heat his (obscenity) spot on the (invective) bench. It would probably get injured less often, and it would definitely get more (damn) rebounds than him.”

The reason I bring up my admitted devotion to basketball is that we could easily be without it this year. Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few months, you’ll know that both the NBA and the NFL have been in full lockout mode, and while things are looking up for football in the fall, the financial rift between the NBA players and the team owners is looking wider and wider.

So, I’ve come up with a few solutions, and I’m waiting for a phone call from the NBA offices. Any day now.

Solution #1: Replace the striking players with temporary workers, preferably ones who are either highly photogenic or funny. Then, make a movie about it (note to self: call Keanu and see if he’s available. Also, Ricky Gervais).

Solution #2: Slowly transform the sport into another entertainment option, following what I call the “MTV pattern.” MTV took something everyone loved (music) and, over the course of many years, slowly changed it into Madonna wearing a highly conical bra, and then into early reality TV shows where you took young, attractive people and put them in rooms together (The Real World), and finally turned music television into modern reality TV shows where you take young, attractive people with extremely poor judgment and inject them with stimulating energy drinks (Jersey Shore). If we successfully follow this pattern, 50 years from now we’ll all be watching basketball as it is played by teen mothers from the backs of trained dolphins.

Solution #3: The players pick one man from among them to fight Jerry Sloan in a cage match. If the players’ fighter wins, the lockout ends and everyone gets more money. If Jerry wins, they all go out and work on his farm in Illinois until the season starts. On time.

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