For as much as we fans threaten to hold grudges in sports, our capacity for forgiveness is higher than we might realize.
The NBA's been boarded up for four months, and we might say we're fed up with the constant bickering and that there's no way we'd embrace the league again. But really, the right conditions are all it takes for many of us to plug back in.
Sure, it will take longer if you're, say, a Cleveland Cavaliers fan. MUCH longer. Whereas a team like the Bulls will win back fans more easily because they're a title contender and, well, Derrick Rose's talent is THAT mesmerizing.
Whatever the case, it's time to play hard to get for a change. Before the players and owners get back to business—and in the swing of collecting our cash—we should submit these demands.
Make the owners and players do real work. Have them sell concessions, mop floors, take tickets—give them a taste of all the jobs people don't have because the NBA's dysfunctional.
Ban agents from giving interviews. If players don't want to speak for themselves, at least spare us from hearing these dopes gripe about how their guy is disrespected. The punishment for those who don't comply is Shaq sitting on that person's chest for 30 seconds.
Lose the cheesy in-game sound effects. We don't need the "Addams Family" theme or artificial clapping piped into the arena as Rose dribbles downcourt. Let the game breathe, people. If it's too quiet for you, put a mic on Tom Thibodeau. It's the next best thing to Ozzie Guillen's tweets.
Cut fans a break based on the standings. For example, if you're an owner and your team is 20 games out of first place, discount everything—jerseys, beer, parking, you name it—20 percent. That way if your team is the tank, fans suffer a little less.
Put the "Heatles" to rest. Every time someone in the NBA refers to the Miami Heat by this asinine nickname, he gets a guitar smashed over his head. That goes double for LeBron James.