NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the season tonight after owners and players were unable to reach a new labor deal and end the lockout. Top negotiators for both sides met for more than seven hours today, returning to bargaining about 14 hours after ending talks last night. Stern said both sides are "very far apart on virtually all issues. ... We just have a gulf that separates us." The cancellation includes all games scheduled to be played through Nov. 14.
The loss of the first two weeks of games will hurt workers with jobs dependent on pro basketball's six-month-plus season. A few teams have already trimmed their staffs and more layoffs could be forthcoming. Then there are those who don't work directly for an NBA team but who still depend on the excitement the league brings to town: Ushers, security personnel, parking lot attendants, concession workers, restaurant employees, and others all stand to have their hours cut or join the country's 14 million unemployed.