当然，金钱损失是相对的。目前的僵局伤害最大的，并非NBA的球员，而是联盟的雇工和球迷。“铁杆球迷是不会抛弃NBA的，”明尼苏达大学（University of Minnesota）的罗斯说。他补充说，但大多数球迷只是奔着比赛的观赏性去看的，如果停摆继续的话，他们就会便宜行事，把钱花在其他项目上。
Financial suicide is relative, of course. And the people hurt the most by the stalemate are non-player NBA employees and fans. "Your diehard NBA fans, they won't defect," says University of Minnesota's Ross. But most fans watch sports for the drama of the game, he adds, and they will take their discretionary dollars elsewhere if the lockout continues.
Fans tend to be forgiving after the millionaire bickering ends. They forgave the NFL after commissioner Roger Goodell sealed an agreement this summer with the NFL player's association, ending a nearly five-month-long lockout. And Stern himself navigated an NBA lockout during the 1998-99 season; it ate into the schedule, but the issues were resolved with enough time for each team to get in 50 games instead of the normal 82.
Stern's job isn't in any immediate danger, especially if the owners feel well-represented during the rest of these talks. Everyone involved understands that lockouts happen in professional sports, and they are always a bummer. Still, Seifried says, "I would definitely elevate this as one of the uglier ones we've seen." And despite all he has done for the league, that's ultimately on the commissioner.