Magic Johnson: NBA players "gotta give" during lockout talks

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by Daniel Gotera / KHOU 11 Sports

khou.com

Posted on October 17, 2011 at 11:01 PM

HOUSTON – Ervin "Magic" Johnson is just like every other NBA fan these days. He wants to see basketball back in business.

The NBA Hall of Famer was in Houston on Monday night and told KHOU 11 Sports he is hopeful the lockout will end soon and that it is on the players to make the next move.

"We all want to get back to basketball," said Johnson. "The players have to understand that they gotta give this time because they had a great run on the last contract."

Monday marked day 109 of the labor lockout which started back on July 1.

The league and its owners are scheduled to meet again with the NBA Players Association this week as each side tries to avoid the cancellation of more games.

A federal mediator will be brought into the negotiations and NBA commissioner David Stern has said that if a deal for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is not reached within the next week, no games will be played on Christmas Day, a popular day of games for the league.

Johnson hopes it doesn’t come to that either.

"I think commissioner (David) Stern will do an excellent job for the league," said the former LA Lakers great. "I’m just hoping that everybody can make a deal this week so they can get us back to playing basketball."

Johnson, who is an executive with the Los Angeles Lakers, is no stranger to labor issues in pro basketball, but he was quick to point out that players back then, didn’t want to let it get out of hand.

"We had a contract dispute, but we never had a lockout," said Johnson with a smile. "We were always smart enough to reach a deal, so I’m hoping that the same thing happens here."

The last CBA was signed back in 2005, a deal which guaranteed players 57 percent of basketball-related revenue.

The entire pre-season along with the first two weeks of regular season games have already been cancelled because of the lock-out.

"The players and the players association have to be smarter," added Johnson. "The league and the owners will hopefully go in this week and we’ll see what happens."

 

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