FROM STEVE BRENNER IN NEW YORK
It was a night which threatened to become best remembered as a sporting pop-concert before Russell Westbrook took centre stage to go within touching distance of history.
The NBA All-Star game may appear to be nothing more than a glitzy, glorified exhibition involving the best players on the planet yet it was Westbrook’s dynamism and athletic power which gave it some serious credence as the Oklahoma Thunder guard scored a monumental 41 points – just one shy of Wilt Chamberlin’s 1962 all time record in this annual jamboree.
That helped the West overcome their friends from the East in what turned out to be the highest scoring game in history. It ended 163- 158 in front of a sell-out 17,198. Yet it was Westbrook’s display which caught the eye of LeBron James, who weighed in with 30 points himself.
The new MLS season is in danger of not starting on time thanks to a series of disagreements between its players and the men who run the League. Steve Brenner explains why there’s a problem.
WHAT IS THE DISPUTE ABOUT?
In a word? Options.
This kind of situation with the players union (MLSPU) and the MLS comes up every five years at the renewal of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which looks after the rights of players.
It blew up in 2010 before a strike was adverted at the very last minute. And now it has blown up once more
Basically, the MLSPU wants its members to have the option of moving clubs freely, just like in Europe following the advent of the Bosman ruling.
As it stands, if their contract runs out, they remain club property. Such situations in England pre 1995 would see transfer tribunals – remember them? – decide the outcome.