NBA Union Talks Collapse: League to Lockout Players at Midnight

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REUTERS / Lucas Jackson

The executive director of the National Basketball Association players' association, Billy Hunter, speaks to reporters after taking part in contract negotiations between the NBA and the players association

For the second time this year, a professional sports league labor stalemate has led to a work stoppage.

This time, just two weeks after a gripping, dramatic playoffs and championship, the NBA will lock out its players beginning at midnight Friday. The 2011-2012 season hangs in jeopardy with both sides no closer to an agreement then they were days ago.

Owners and the NBA Players’ Association are caught in a tug-of-war over salary caps and revenue sharing, among several other issues including owners’ demand for a reduction of the 57% of profit the league receives. All activity with the league is halted indefinitely, and that includes the period of free agency scheduled to begin Friday. The last time the NBA locked its players out was in 1998, when teams were limited to just 50 games for the entire season.

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Talks collapsed on Thursday after a three-hour meeting in which union chief Billy Hunter said his side attempted a “moderate” proposal. But “the gap is too great,” he said.

Meanwhile, the NFL lockout continues although there is some hope that it will end. “Everyone has a sense it will end soon,” Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told The Sporting News. “It’s just a matter of how soon is soon.”