Oh yeah, the NBA lockout. I kind of forgot the league has officially been shut down for over two months with no end in sight. But I'm not alone, it seems, considering that players and management met this week for only the second time since the lockout began 62 days ago. Think about that for a minute. The NFL also locked out its players earlier in the year and every single day during the impasse, fans and the media breathlessly awaited any and all developments. Politicians in Washington were threatening to get involved if the two parties could not hammer out an agreement before the regular season started on September 8. The NBA? If there is a hue and cry to get this thing solved, I can't hear it. The indifference speaks volumes about the league and helps to clearly define where it fits into North America's sporting firmament. It doesn't have the romance of baseball or the slavish fan devotion and made-for-TV violence of the NFL. It's much more popular in the US than hockey but not nearly as passionate and arduous, particularly come play-off time. And while there are occasionally some riveting basketball games, for many the most distinctive characteristic of the NBA seems to be its overwhelmingly corporate ethos. IBM and Microsoft have nothing on the suits running the world's most popular basketball league. They sell, sell and sell some more and no league has been quicker to tap into the world's fastest growing economy in China like the NBA, which has been exploring 'opportunities' on the mainland for over 15 years. It's certainly good business but is it good sport? For the NBA, it all starts at the top and after 27 years in charge, commissioner David Stern is still the undisputed king of the league. He is arguably the most visionary and successful commissioner in the history of North American sports and, thanks to his blatant China-lust, Stern has been readily available to some members of the Asian media over the years. He has certainly been generous with his time towards me and he is usually charming, funny and unpretentious considering his lofty position. But he almost invariably talks business, and business opportunities first and foremost, whenever discussing the NBA. I'm not even sure he is a basketball fan. Personally, I like basketball and if the choice was to have the NBA up and running or not have it, I guess I would like to have it. That's about as strong as my conviction gets and it's a lot more than a surprising number of sports fans feel. Stern grabbed this league by the collar when it was second rate from top to bottom and transformed it into a captivating league of stars thanks to the likes of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. It was the right move at the time as the game exploded but eventually this league of stars destroyed any sort of communal vibe around the NBA. Football has tailgating while the NBA has CEO meet and greets. The star-laden business model came home to roost this past year for the NBA as the Miami Heat became the most unpopular team in the history of American sports when mega-star LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to join former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh and Heat star Dwyane Wade in forming basketball's version of soccer's Los Galacticos. Everybody living outside of south Florida or over the age of 12 got a serious hate on for these preening new darlings of the NBA and I think it's safe to say it's still lingering for a system where the best players can cherry pick their team and teammates. No one gets more hate these days than LeBron either, which is understandable considering the crassness of the one hour, prime-time TV special when he announced he was leaving Cleveland to take his talents to South Beach. But the irony here is that James is actually one of the good guys. Of course, he's a completely self-absorbed narcissist. But considering the position he is in, it would be a miracle if he wasn't. This is a ridiculously wealthy 26-year-old who had half the teams in the NBA embarrassingly pleading with him to play for them last year. His sense of entitlement is hardly delusional and yet he is, by all accounts, a staunch and dedicated family man to his two boys who, despite an endless stream of temptation and growing up impoverished in a one-parent household, has never been on the wrong said of the law. And considering that one former player was arrested for murder this week and numerous others have appeared on police blotters, that makes James a pretty solid citizen in today's NBA. But for now he gets to wear the black hat in King David's star-studded circus and having such a charismatic bad guy has proven to be great for ratings, if not for fan loyalty. I kept hearing from a number of people they were not sure how they could survive a year without the NFL. The next person who says they can't live without an NBA season will be the first.