Mayors in NBA cities sign plea letter
Mayors in 14 NBA cities – including Sacramento’s Kevin Johnson, a former All-Star – have signed an open letter asking Commissioner David Stern and union chief Billy Hunter to end the lockout, the Deseret News reported.
The letter was drafted under The United States Conference of Mayors’ letterhead and asked Stern and Hunter to understand the plight of people who “own or work at small businesses that depend on NBA games for survival.”
After talking for 30 hours over three days with the assistance of a federal mediator, the sides broke up Thursday night without an agreement. No new talks are scheduled, and Stern – who aleady has canceled the first two weeks of the season – may be canceling a second bracket of games.
The letter, in part, read, “NBA teams are a vital part of the economic and social fabric of our cities. Unfortunately, lost in the debate over a new NBA collective bargaining agreement has been the perspective of those very residents and the negative impact a cancelled season might have on them, our cities, and our local economies. “We know the issues being discussed between NBA owners and players are complex and need to be addressed to ensure the long-term well-being of the league. We are not interested in taking a side.”
Johnson and Sacramento could be dramatically affected by a prolonged lockout as the Maloof family – which owns the Kings – plans to move the team to Anaheim if it does not get a new arena deal.
According to the report, the other mayors who signed the letter were from Indianapolis, Orlando, Memphis, Washington, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Charlotte, Detroit, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and Denver. Detroit’s mayor is Dave Bing, another former NBA All-Star.