National Basketball Player’s Association’s Jeff Lamp on Potential NBA Lockout
By Seth Rubinroit
With the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement set to expire on June 30, 2011, there have been concerns that there will be a lockout during the 2011-2012 season. Billy Hunter, the Executive Director of the National Basketball Player’s Association (NBPA), was quoted in July as saying, “I’m preparing for a lockout right now and I haven’t seen anything to change that notion.” However, Jeff Lamp, a career counselor for the NBPA, believes that an agreement can be reached.
“I do not think that it is inevitable,” Lamp said about a NBA lockout. “It is hard to say. I do know that they are probably fairly far apart right now. But, as we get closer to the collective bargaining agreement running out, I think they will get closer and closer. I do not think anyone wants to see any kind of a work stoppage.”
As it stands, the league is claiming that teams are losing money, and is calling for changes to help the teams return to profitability. The NBPA is mostly content with the current system.
“I think the Player’s Association feels that they have a good system in place, and I do not think they are very anxious to see that system change very much,” Lamp said.
After playing as an All-American at Virginia, Lamp played six NBA seasons for four teams: the Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Lakers.
Lamp was a member of the Lakers during the Showtime Era, winning an NBA Championship in 1988. He has noticed several changes in the NBA since he played.
“Back in the Showtime era, there were a few teams that had a lot of really good players. The Celtics, Detroit, and the Lakers had a lot of great talent,” Lamp said. “These days, the Lakers have a lot of great role players, and two or three superstars in Kobe, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum. In the NBA now, you have one, two, maybe three superstars and a lot of role players.”
Lamp was asked who would win in a matchup between the 1988 Lakers and the current Lakers team.
“It is hard to say. These guys are so big and athletic, and especially with the current Lakers, they are so long,” Lamp said. “It would have been a great matchup. I am a little prejudiced because I think our team was one of the greatest teams put together, and I feel fortunate to be a part of it. I wish we could go back in time and play it.”
These days, Lamp enjoys mentoring up-and-coming basketball players. He worked at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, and is involved with the NBPA’s Career Development Program. He also helps the basketball players at Stoneridge Prep High School, where basketball agent Angela Hagen was recently named the athletic director, and former UCLA Director of Basketball Operations Joe Hillock was named the head coach.
“We try to help them become as good basketball players as they can,” Lamp said. “But what we really want is for them to be prepared for life when they are not on the court.”