The NBA lockout has been painted as a doomsday scenario since the work stoppage began in July.
Now entering October and without an agreement between the two sides, it is now imperative for the parties to come together on a deal to save the season.
In other words, it's now or never.
According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the next 48 hours of negotiations between the players and owners represents a "transformational moment for the league."
The NFL season is fully underway, the MLB playoffs are roaring, the NHL campaign is about to kick off and the NBA has bargaining sessions.
There's something wrong with that picture, isn't there?
The NBA is coming off its best ratings since Michael Jordan retired, and the 2011 postseason had fans craving basketball like most never had before.
Now? That momentum has effectively been squashed.
In this economy, where so many people are struggling to find work, most fans aren't interested in hearing about the philosophical differences between millionaires.
As Berger notes, the real problem currently staring everyone in the face is the obvious unwillingness between the two sides to dig in and entrench themselves in the real issues at hand, and without that, there cannot be any true progress.
The problem? The owners and players have wasted so much time entrenched in their positions and staring at each other across various conference tables -- two years of stubbornness, two years of gridlock -- that there's barely time to get a deal that would save the season. There isn't nearly enough time to get that deal right, to make the kind of meaningful changes that would achieve the goals that both sides should share.
A snail's pace would be a generous way to describe the negotiations between the two sides.
It's time to shelve aside personal divides and get a deal done to benefit the future of professional basketball.
Although that should've happened a long time ago, it's clear that the progress made between sides heretofore has been rather minimal.