Kobe and the gang aren't the only ones out of work amid this ridiculous NBA lockout. The longer they continue to turn up their noses at NBA officials' proposed season contract — admittedly a pretty lousy deal — the longer those beleaguered Hooters waitresses who rely on basketball fans for business are locked out in the cold, as well. (Cue winter-nipples-in-flimsy-uniform fantasy…)

If that's not the 1 percent holding down the 99 percent, then shred our tents and call us hippies.

“The deadlocked contract talks have hit particularly hard on a new Hooters restaurant…”

“… that opened in July on Figueroa Street across from Staples Center to draw big-spending Lakers and Clippers fans,” reports the Los Angeles Times in an article today on the mini recession caused by the lockout.

What hope we had, back when the downtown Hooters branch opened its doors! LA Weekly's Dennis Romero predicted a brave new world in the L.A. Live district:

With its burgeoning crop of shoebox-sized wine bars, discreet cocktail havens and fancy coffee shops, what downtown LA's “revitalization” has really been missing is a good, old-fashioned, sanitized corporate tittie bar. That gaping cultural hole will be filled when Hooters opens July 11th on Figueroa Street near the Staples Center. The VIP opening party happens on Saturday night, but for regular schmoes, the first 100 people who arrive at 11 a.m. on Monday will receive free chicken wings for a year.

Heck, there even used to be an entire Twitter account dedicated to job openings at the spanking-new location.

That ship has apparently sailed. A bunch of other bars and restaurants in the “Manhattanized” portion of downtown L.A. — all those reliant on the mainstream, beer-guzzling NBA crowd — are feeling similar effects, according to the Times. But there's something about the image of poor, huddling Hooters waitresses, so eager to serve spicy chicken wings yet lacking hungry neanderthals on the receiving end, that really hits this pop-culture tragedy home.

The crux of their sob story:

“We definitely opened this restaurant to be event-driven,” said Hooters general manager Laura Acton, who complained that she doesn't have enough work for all of the waitresses she hired to serve NBA fans.

… On nights when the Staples Center hosts a Kings hockey game or another big event, Acton said she calls in about 40 to 50 workers. But when the arena is dark, she only brings in about half that number.

So far, the NBA has canceled 33 games at Staples. For each of those, Acton says Hooters has lost about 30 percent of the night's potential revenue. (Not that we really care how much the Hooters corporation is losing. Like we said, it's the out-of-work talent really pulling at our heartstrings.)

Come on, Kobe. How can you say no to those, erm, mugs:

We've contacted Hooters media relations to see if the problem has transcended L.A. to national-crisis status. Really though, NBA — think of the people. The people need their boobies like they need their basketball. And here you've got the power to give them both at once!


LA Weekly