Stern said he is canceling all scheduled regular season games through November 14.
“Despite extensive efforts, we have not been able to reach a new agreement with the players’ union that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship while fairly compensating our players,” the NBA said in a statement.
Stern said the last-ditch effort to end the lockout of the players and begin the season on time failed because the two sides are miles apart on a number of key isses that need to be resolved.
“We just have a gulf that separates us,” Stern said.
All of the NBA’s 114 pre-season games have already been wiped out by the contract dispute.
The owners locked out the players July 1 when they couldn’t reach a deal before the expiration of the old collective bargaining agreement. The NBA’s opening night was scheduled for November 1.
The warring sides have met occasionally over the past few weeks as the NBA reportedly continued to insist it wouldn’t move beyond the 50-50 split in league revenues that Stern proposed on Tuesday.
The union rejected that, saying players wouldn’t resume talks with any preconditions.
Team owners and players have been haggling over how to divide $3.8 billion in annual revenues and over salary cap issues.
The gaps in their positions has been so wide it could now jeopardize the entire 2011-2012 campaign.
The only prior NBA season shortened due to money issues was in 1998-99 when the season was cut to 50 games per club because it took so long to reach a deal.
Only once in North American sports history has an entire season been lost to players and team owners being unable to agree upon financial terms, that being the National Hockey League’s lost 2004-2005 campaign.