Let me tell you a story.
It is a story about a rich kid. A rich kid with an even richer Dad. Let's call the son Billy and the Dad Jim. Jim gives his son an allowance of $5,000 per week. Sounds pretty darn good. Billy has all kinds of fun spending all this money. Dad, well he doesn't really care. He's paying attention to what other parents are giving their kids in allowance, and as long as those kids get $5,000 per week, Billy will be getting the same.
Then the economy tanks.
Ooops. Jim's company isn't doing so well anymore. Neither are his neighbor's businesses.
And each of them keeps giving their sons $5,000 per week in allowance. Gotta keep up with the Joneses, right? This whole bad economy thing will figure itself out; no big deal.
Well, Dad can charge the neighbors to borrow his lawn mower. That'll make some money. Maybe hold a bake sale. Everyone likes a $10 brownie, right?
Turns out people don't like $10 brownies. Who would've guessed? They don't show up to your bake sale. And you keep losing money.
"Hey Billy, could you come in here for a moment, Dad wants to talk to you?"
"Sure, Dad, what's up?"
"Ya know how I was really stupid and gave you a $5,000 allowance? And then was even stupider when the economy tanked and I kept giving you a $5,000 allowance? See, I'm having second thoughts about that. And so are all the parents in the neighborhood. We're gonna need to do something about this."
"What!? No way, Dad! I've been making that money. I've been helping around the house, cooking dinner, that was the deal. I want that money."
"Um ... go to your room Billy!"
Welcome to the 2011-12 NBA season ladies and gentlemen.
I don't think I have to break down the story for you. If you read through it, you understand - Billy is obviously the players and Jim is the owners.
So where does that leave you, the reader? Well if you barely managed to get through that convoluted story it's probably because you didn't really care about the participants. Sure, something intriguing was going on, but you weren't exactly sure you cared. You're a good NBA fan.
And if you gave up (which would mean you aren't reading this), then you're the vast majority of casual NBA viewers.
There's your analogy, Commissioner Stern. Tread lightly.
Follow New York sports editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.