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NBA Lockout Ends: A Comprehensive Timeline From Five Wild Months

The NBA lockout lasted 149 days and featured tons of twists, turns and ridiculous behavior by all involved. Before we move forward, let's take one more look back.

The NBA lockout is over, and fans everywhere can look forward to actually seeing some basketball again. We understand that there's a natural instinct to never wanting to think about the NBA lockout again. Let's move forward, you say. While we understand that sentiment, the fact is that the 149-day lockout featured so many twists and turns, so we felt it was worth laying it all out, for history's sake.

So for those wondering how we got here, this NBA lockout timeline will answer your question. Here now are all of the important events of the 2011 NBA lockout.

Full NBA Lockout Coverage From | What Happens Next



February 11, 2010: The NBA presents its first formal offer at the 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend in Dallas. A number of players show up and loudly reject the NBA's offer. And so it begins.

July 2010: The craziest free agent month in NBA history ends with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami and a number of owners and general managers mad that more wasn't done to prevent them from teaming up.

August 12, 2010: The two sides meet for three and a half hours, with many of the superstars there. It goes "amicably," but little progress is made.

September 29, 2010: Speaking in front of a bunch of business leaders, Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis says there will "soon" be a hard salary cap like there is in the NHL. He is fined $100,000 by David Stern.

October 2, 2010: In an interview with the New York Times, Billy Hunter says there's a "99 percent chance" of a lockout.

October 21, 2010: David Stern tells the AP that he is seeking a one-third reduction in player salaries, dropping player costs by $750-800 million per season. Soon thereafter, it is confirmed that they are looking to also roll back existing salaries.

October-February: A compelling season is conducted. The Miami Heat have their issues. Meetings are scheduled for All-Star Weekend.


February 29, 2011: A meeting is held. The union calls the talks "amicable" at the time. A month later, news comes out that Hunter and Stern got into a shouting match.

March 22, 2011: Hunter combats the claim that the NBA is losing money.

May 4, 2011: The players receive an offer that's essentially the same as the one they rejected in 2010. They ... reject it. (Shocking, right?)

May 24, 2011: The union files an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the owners are negotiating in bad faith. That complaint never got addressed because the NLRB board moves at the speed of a quadriplegic turtle.

June 8, 2011: Both sides meet, both sides say they're far apart.

June 22, 2011: Both sides meet, both sides initially express optimism, but then the players rip apart the owners' proposal.


June 30, 2011: Both sides meet, both sides say they're far apart, and the lockout begins. Stern says the owners had "no choice" but to have it begin. The NBPA expresses disappointment.

July 1, 2011: NBA players beg for jobs on Twitter, are lame. "A new low point in the lockout," people say.

July 5, 2011: A comprehensive study by Nate Silver of the New York Times reveals that the NBA made money on their last collective bargaining agreement. These numbers are contested and bandied about throughout the next few months.

July 7, 2011: New Jersey Nets star Deron Williams signs a contract to play for Turkish club Besiktas until the lockout ends. He announces the deal on Twitter by putting up a copy of his contract, which is a first. Many figured his decision would lead to a European exodus, but it ended up being more like a small trickle of players. His tenure there is largely uneventful, save for one 50-point game.

Kobe Bryant is the only other prominent star to consider Europe, flirting with an Italian club before finally deciding he had enough fun leading them on.

July 23, 2011: After the two sides meet again, a report comes out that several prominent agents are upset with Hunter and are pushing for the NBPA to decertify. A report indicates that the league threatens to void all contracts if the players did that.

August 1, 2011: Both sides meet, both sides say they're far apart. Stern says the players aren't negotiating in good faith. The league then files its own NLRB charge, saying that all contracts should be voided if the NBPA decertifies.

August 12, 2011: Stern appears on Bill Simmons' podcast and proposes Labor Day as the first of his many artificial deadlines for coming close to a deal.

August 31, 2011: Both sides meet, both sides say they're far apart.

September 7, 2011: Two words: "How U." A lockout meme is born.

September 13, 2011: Both sides meet, and after initial optimism, both sides say they're far apart. However, reports say progress was made, with the players expressing willingness to drop below their proposal of receiving 54.3 percent of basketball-related income. The previous deal had them getting 57 percent. It took this long to get to this point.

September 22, 2011: Both sides meet, both sides say they're far apart. Preseason games get cancelled.

September 30, 2011: Stern and Dwyane Wade get into a shouting match. The majority of the peanut gallery says it was over this. "A new low point in the lockout," people say.

October 1, 2011: At that same meeting, Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, in an attempt to quell rumors that he was one of the hardline owners, joked that his wife asked him to bring back the mid-level exception in a designer handbag. His joke, much like his effort to ensure his team was contending while still cutting his player expenses, was misguided at best.

October 4, 2011: After even more initial optimism, talks break down again after both sides ask for 53 percent of BRI. Reports indicate that Stern offered the players a 50-50 split of BRI, but the two sides disagree on how that came out.

October 6, 2011: Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Kevin Garnett has been imploring the players not to give up any more, doing so in his typical Garnett way.

There was Garnett in the private players meeting on Tuesday in New York, screaming to his peers. "Apoplectic," one source said. K.G. screamed that the players owed it to the next generation to stand firm, to concede no more to the owners in these talks.


October 9, 2011: The two sides meet again after the league drops its demand for the players to accept a 50-50 BRI split to even talk about anything else. It doesn't work and the league cancels the first two weeks of the season.

October 12, 2011: Federal mediator George Cohen joins the talks.

October 14, 2011: During an NBPA meeting in swanky Beverly Hills, Washington Wizards center and cinnamon enthusiast JaVale McGee suggests that while the majority of the players are willing to "stand strong," there are others who are "ready to fold."  McGee's words earned a sharp rebuke from NBPA president Derek Fisher. Later, McGee claimed he never said what he said, even though an audio transcript revealed otherwise.

October 20, 2011: Once again, talks break down despite lots reported progress being made. This time, it's ugly. NBPA president Derek Fisher says the owners lied to fans. A Wojnarowski report suggests Portland Trail Blazers Paul Allen came in to the players' room to deliver the news, then literally stayed completely silent as Hunter tried to plea with him. "Here comes the Grim Reaper," a union source told Wojnarowski.

Meanwhile, during the same negotiation, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert reportedly told Hunter to "trust him," and San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt reportedly said the players hadn't felt enough pain yet. Was this all revenge for Garnett's speeches three weeks ago? We'll never know. "A new low point in the lockout," people say.

October 28, 2011: After a week of negotiations that led everyone to believe a deal was getting done, talks break down again when the two sides disagree on the BRI split ... again.

October 31, 2011: Miami Heat owner Mickey Arison, who had already become famous for his wacky tweets, was fined $500,000 for replying to an angry tweet by saying he wasn't one of the greedy owners.

November 1, 2011: A report by Jason Whitlock suggests that Hunter and Fisher are at odds with each other. Fisher disputes the report in a statement. Whitlock himself is very excited by his scoop and brags about it to a bunch of bored reporters on Twitter. "A new low point in the lockout," people say.

November 2, 2011: Paul Pierce reportedly leads a decertification push, which begins to make noise as the two sides prepare to meet again.

November 4, 2011: A report suggests Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan is leading a group of owners who would vote against a 50-50 split of BRI. This is ironic because of things said by Michael Jordan, the player.

November 6, 2011: After a rough day of talks, David Stern proposes an ultimatum when the league would pull its current offer for a much worse one with only 47 percent of BRI going to the players and a "flex" salary cap that most players feel acts like a hard cap.

November 7, 2011: The NBA's and the NBPA's official Twitter accounts begin responding to each other, challenging the different parts of the league's proposal. "A new low point in the lockout," people say.

November 8, 2011: The NBA players reject the idea of a deadline, saying the revenue split is fine, but the system is not. Their reward? Former president Bill Clinton drops by negotiations to say hello. He tells Fisher that he now knows how Clinton felt "all those years." Talk about perfect timing.

Also on this day: Union attorney Jeffrey Kessler echoes something Bryant Gumbel said earlier and suggests the league is treating the players "like plantation workers." Stern responds by calling Kessler "routinely despicable."

November 10, 2011: As optimism reigns in the lockout talks, former New York Knicks president Dave Checketts tries to get in front of the news cycle by suggesting the deal is done in a radio interview.

"I've received a couple of phone calls from friends who are very close to the process who say, 'We have a deal, and now it's a matter of getting everything straightened out,' "

No deal is made. Instead, Hunter announces he is taking the NBA's proposal back to the player representatives. As for Dave, maybe he should have Checketts'd himself before ... well, you know what I mean.

November 13, 2011: The league goes on an all-out media blitz to reach the players directly, leaking the proposal to USA Today, who publishes it in full. The league also holds an hour-and-a-half-long Twitter Q&A that ends up with them just parrotting their old talking points, pissing off several players in the process. "A new low point in the lockout," people say.

Finally, Stern sends a memo urging players to accept the deal.


November 14, 2011: The players reject the deal and disclaim interest to sue in court. An enraged Stern says the "nuclear winter" of the league has begun. "A new low point in the lockout," people say.

November 15, 2011: The players file two anti-trust complaints in Minnesota and California. Attorney David Boies becomes the new face of the lockout.

November 17, 2011: The Iron Sheik speaks!

November 21, 2011: The players consolidate the two lawsuits, and the league suggests the players are just trying to "shop" for a better judge. In response to this statement, Boies explains this is why he will not pick up the phone to call Stern. Both sides essentially admit they are playing hard-to-get, and neither will answer until the other one calls. "A new low point in the lockout," people say.


November 23, 2011: Talks quietly resume.

November 26, 2011: It ends! The lockout is solved in the wee hours of the morning.

November 26, 2011: Roger Mason makes fun of himself, and the biggest meme of the lockout ends with self-pity.

That's probably the way we should remember this whole 149-day charade. One day, we'll look back on all of this and wonder how it got to this point. The NBA lockout certainly wasn't fun, but now that it's over, we can laugh at all the ridiculous turns it took before a deal was reached.