Since the season ended in mid-June it's been a very frustrating offseason for NBA fans. We've gotten a front row seat to the very little progress made between the league and players union, though recently the pace seems to have picked up a bit. Last week we got our first official casualty of the lockout as training camps were postponed and several preseason games were cancelled, and that may have been the ‘kick in the pants' needed to get things moving.
In the most recent attempt at making some progress, the two sides met on Friday in New York for more then four hours. Along with NBA commissioner David Stern and Players Union chief Billy Hunter, there were also around 20 players in attendance. This led to some pretty anxious moments as at times the talks got intense, and that's where our own Dwyane Wade got involved.
David Stern was speaking to the group and apparently taking to them and pointing at them like they were little kids, and that's when D-Wade stood up and yelled back at Stern "You're not pointing your finger at me. I'm not your child." I'm sure this news comes as a bit of a surprise to those who know the kind of person that Wade is, which really makes me wonder what Stern was saying.
Whatever it was got under a lot of players' skin and made them feel like they were being talked down to because after Dwyane's outburst, several guys said they'd had enough and were going to leave. This led to a ‘cooling off session' for both sides. Billy Hunter was able to convince the offended players to stick around for the remainder of the meeting.
One person who was in attendance said that the move by Hunter to keep the players from leaving was a huge favor to Stern. It would have looked very bad if several of the best players in the league walked out on the commissioner because of how he was treating them with 10 team owners in the room. As for Wade, news of him standing up for his fellow players traveled quickly. Even guys not at the meeting were giving Dwyane props, according to this tweet from Tim Reynolds, who covers the Heat for AP:
@ByTimReynolds: Just spoke to an NBA player not in today's meeting. Said "400 guys in our league have a new favorite player tonight, and it's Mr. D-Wade."
Unfortunately, amidst all this action there wasn't much progress made towards a new collective bargaining agreement, but the two sides are going to resume talks on Saturday.