Nightly News | November 26, 2011
LESTER HOLT, anchor: of handshake deal to end the nearly five-month-long NBA lockout and put players back on the court by Christmas . More now from NBC 's Mark Potter .
MARK POTTER reporting: Once again, it appears to be game on. After a lockout, lawsuits and bitter negotiations, the wee morning hours brought news of a tentative deal pending ratification by NBA players and owners.
Mr. DAVID J. STERN (NBA Commissioner): We're optimistic that that will all come to pass and that the NBA season will begin on December 25th , Christmas Day , with a triple header.
POTTER: If as expected, the agreement is approved and those three games are played, the NBA will have averted a major disaster.
DARREN ROVELL reporting: I think both sides realized that this was the 12th hour. It wasn't the 11th hour. This was the time that they had to do a deal. And if they didn't do a deal, they would lose the season.
POTTER: This year's season will be shortened from the traditional 82 games to 66, but fans are thrilled the game has been saved.
Unidentified Woman: I was so excited that we finally got to watch basketball again.
Unidentified Man: I love this game , you know, like that's my favorite thing in the world.
POTTER: Among them, the nation's first fan, President Obama .
President BARACK OBAMA: Good deal.
POTTER: Under the proposed 10-year agreement, players reportedly gave back several billion dollars in game revenues to team owners.
Mr. CHRIS MANNIX (Sports Illustrated Staff Writer): Well, I think the players are agreeing to it because they're missing paychecks. You know, they just missed their first paycheck on November 15th .
POTTER: Here in Miami where it's high dollar players and many hotels, restaurants and businesses fearing huge losses if games aren't played, there's a big sigh of relief now. On his Twitter feed, Miami Heat star LeBron James said, "I feel like my kids on Christmas Day ! So juiced! Excited for the fans that stayed patient with us!" NBA owners and players hope that by finally coming to terms now, they'll keep those fans filling the stands. Mark Potter , NBC News, Miami .