NBA.com Will Soon Be A Graveyard Full Of Cheerleader And Mascot Photos
With the July 1 expiration of the NBA collective bargaining agreement fast approaching, neither side is really sweating bullets — at least not yet. After all, commissioner David Stern has said that if negotiations progress between now and Thursday, the deadline could very well be extended. But even if there is no extension in July, and a lockout does ensue, it's not like there are any games or players getting paid this summer. So no reason to worry, right?
Well, that is unless you're one of the individuals in charge of NBA.com and those team websites where we go to look up when the free giveaway nights are and find out Kobe Bryant's all-time favorite movie (it's Star Wars, in case you were wondering).
The reason being, as soon as the current CBA expires, all images and videos of NBA players appearing in NBA-owned digital properties must — to put it bluntly — disappear. In some cases, this could mean the mere mention of a player's name would be grounds for removal.
Over the past few weeks, NBA website administrators and support staff have endured two-hour conference calls and countless planning sessions to figure out how to eliminate all these photos, highlights, articles and promotional features from the sites.
Even though management has been given a heads-up, the process itself isn't so cut and dried. For instance, website staffers are still debating what this will mean for teams' official Twitter feeds and Facebook pages, or even photos of a fan wearing a player's jersey. And just how far back are we talking exactly?
According to more than one team website staffer, the cutoff for images of retired players right now stands at 1992-93 -- Shaquille O'Neal's first season in the league.
In preparation, the NBA has provided a "wire frame" website for each team, which is essentially a basic template lacking all the interactive features and fancy graphics that have come to accompany nearly all Internet content. So essentially, "each of the 30 team sites will look virtually identical."
Well, turns out they won't all be the same.
After all, we'll still be able to read about each squad's mascots and charity events, not to mention click through slideshows of the dance team (which for some teams probably attracts more web traffic than the actual player profiles).
In one of the more intuitive statements we've heard in awhile:
"Content is going to be a major problem if we can't mention a player," said a team website administrator.
As for all the old, pre-lockout content, it's pretty much being aggregated and banished to cyberspace.
“We're going back to the stone ages of the Internet," said one team website administrator. "It's all going to be very dumbed down.”
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