DEC. 14: In his first move as owner of the Orlando Illusions, Dwight Howard trades himself to Bryant's team, the Los Angeles Lazers, for a pair of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's old goggles. "I want to thank Dwight Howard for sending Dwight Howard to a contender," Howard says.
DEC. 15: Frozen out by the NBA's corporate partners, the PNBA offers discounted sponsorships to companies that would otherwise have no reason to be affiliated with pro basketball. First-year players will compete for the Pampers Rookie of the Year award, and the buzz is that in the Mary Kay Slam Dunk contest at All-Star weekend, Blake Griffin will defend his title by leaping over a pyramid of makeup artists.
DEC. 20: Unable to persuade any broadcast or cable networks to televise its games because of their NBA ties, the PNBA makes a deal with several websites to provide pay-per-view streaming video. Stern reacts by attempting to cancel players' Netflix accounts.
JAN. 2: The opening night of games are played, but online viewership is disappointing. Without the trappings of the NBA, fans find the games less appealing. But the owners, impressed with the players' ability to get a league up and running, decide to return to the bargaining table before the PNBA has time to become more successful. This saves Stern the trouble of trying to cancel the players' favorite TV shows.
JAN. 8: The players and owners announce that they have finally come to an agreement, and a 50-game season will start in early February. Stern declares that the world has been saved. Hunter says that the players' resolve has been rewarded. The public's reaction is understated, which isn't surprising. It's Sunday, and the NFL is on.