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NBA ditches summer interns, is a lockout next?

April 14, 2011

Milwaukee Bucks game

If the NBA is on the verge of a lockout, the summer interns were the first to go. (Credit: Jerramy Jannene)

By Alex Braun

College students, your chances of meeting Kobe Bryant this summer just took a blow — and not because of his controversial $100,000 tirade.

The NBA League Office announced plans to scrap its 10-week summer internship program Wednesday, as the league and the player’s association don’t seem to be finding common ground in the debate over a new collective bargaining agreement. With a similar conflict churning in professional football, there’s some chance two major American sports leagues could be locked out for 2011-12.

In recent years, the NBA has hired about 30 college sophomores and juniors to intern at its New York City and Secaucus, N.J. offices, where they learn about the business operations of a professional sports league. The league’s career site now bears a message telling candidates that applications are no longer being considered, but to check back for any updates.

We understand that the NBA wants to fire warning shots — the bigger simultaneous announcement here was the axing of the Summer League. Taking away something expensive with mass entertainment value is logical saber-rattling. But canceling a pretty inexpensive (the interns were unpaid) educational program for young people? That leaves us scratching our heads a bit.

If you’re passionate about pro basketball, you’ve still got plenty of other options at the moment. Many individual NBA teams are still looking for Summer 2011 interns — and some of them are paid. We’ll be sure to post any that come our way, and you can also check out NBA team career opportunities here.

No word yet on whether those positions could be threatened by the prospect of a lockout.

What do you think of the NBA canceling its internship program? And are the players or owners to blame?

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