NBA Lockout: Then (1998-’99) & Now (2011-’12) #LatrellSprewell

Prior to Tim and Sid: Uncut going on a 2-week hiatus, there was frequent discussion on the impending NBA lockout coming up this season. A lot has changed since the NBA last experienced a lockout and it looks like there’s no stopping another one. In the year 1998, the Denver Broncos won the Superbowl, McGwire and Sosa chased Roger Maris’ homerun record, NHL players participated for the first time in the Olympics, Bruce Willis saved planet Earth (Armagedon), Matchbox Twenty was relevant, and the NBA experienced it’s third ever lockout.

It’s been over 10 years (1998 – ’99) since that lockout took place and with another one on the horizon, I thought it would be fun to play a little NBA: Then and Now.

It seems that Patrick Ewing is sweating a little bit. Not sure it was because he was worried about the upcoming lockout, or the fact that “he’s getting too old for this shit.”

Funny how David Stern looks like he’s hardly aged in over 10 years.

Both Michael Olowokandi and Kyrie Irving were selected at the No. 1 spot in their respective drafts and lockout years. Again, Stern looks like he hasn’t aged…deal with the Devil?

Then: In 1998-’99, Chris Webber was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Sacramento Kings for Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe; where he joined newly acquired Peja Stojakovic, Jason Williams, and Vlade Divac. In the shortened lockout season, Webber led the league with 13.0 reb. and helped the Kings make the postseason. Apparently, he was also known to dunk in his better days. According to news sources, Webber was also nailed several times that year for possession of marijuana.

Now: C-Webb is now a TV Analyst for NBA’s TV Gametime Live and serves occassionally as a guest for TNT ‘s Inside the NBA when either Chuck or Kenny are absent.

Then: In the shortened NBA season, Karl Malone continued to play like a beast and was named the season’s MVP. The “Mailman” averaged just over 23 pts. and 9 reb. and helped the Utah Jazz make it to the 2nd round of the playoffs before being outsed by the Portland Trailblazers.

Now: In 2007, Malone joined the basketbal program at Louisiana Tech and recent rumours were that the Mailman and his wife were going to take part in the upcoming season of The Amazing Race (it has since been found that those rumours were false).

Then: In his first season with the Toronto Raptors, Vince Carter was a human highlight reel. After finishing the ’97-’98 season with a record of 16 – 66, Carter, along with several other pieces such as Tracy McGrady, Alvin Williams, and Charles Oakley seemed to give Raptor fans something to cheer for finally. Vince went on to win Rookie of the Year honours by averaging just over 18 pts. and 6 reb. and helped the franchise finish 6th in the Central Division.

Now: In his 14th year in the league, Carter has been plauged by injuries, karma, and prima donna attitude. Now with his fourth team, Carter averaged 13.5 pts. in 51 games this past season for the Phoenix Suns. The highlight reels are less, the vertical has decreased, and old age is creeping up on the forward.

Then: In Tim Duncan’s second year in the league, the centre played an important part of the San Antonio Spurs 1999 NBA Championship. Along with David Robinson, the Twin Towers were a force to be reckoned with and cruised through the playoffs before finishing off the New York Knicks in 5 games. Duncan followed up his rookie season by averaging over 21 pts. and 11 reb. and winning the Finals MVP Award.

Now: Tim Duncan is now in his 14th year in the league with the San Antonio Spurs and has since won 3 more titles since ’99. Again, age and injuries have slowed down the star and he had one of his worst seasons statistically this past season after averaging 13.4 pts. and 8.9 rebs.

Then: After numerous incidents (Carlesimo choking, fight with Jerome Kersey, charged with reckless driving, etc.), Latrell Sprewell was traded to the New York Knicks for John Starks, Chris Mills, and Terry Cummings in early February 1999. In an attempt to shed his bad boy image, Sprewell helped the Knicks make the playoffs and then shock the world by becoming the first 8th seed to make it to the NBA Finals.

Now: Broke, broke, and broke some more. In the mid-2000’s, Sprewell apparently turned down a $32 million / 4-year deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves because he claimed “How am I supposed to feed my family on that?”. He might have been joking but after having to foreclose his house and sell his yacht over the last couple of years, that contract sounds pretty good right now.

Then: Companies such as Nike and Sprite did their best to make light of the NBA lockout and players like Duncan and Hill looked for work through advertisements.



Now:
Besides heading overseas to play ball, athletes are using twitter to find work and let employers know they’re available.

Let’s hope for a speedy resolution! It’s going to be a sad time come October when gym lights remain turned off.

Remember Tim and Sidizens, I believe we are on a 6 weekday countdown before Tim and Sid: Uncut return! Hang in there.

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