Blog Entry

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Posted on: November 17, 2011 1:05 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 9:24 pm
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Posted by Ben Golliverbilly-hunter-small

On Monday, the National Basketball Players Association disbanded so that it could file antritrust lawsuits against the NBA, charging the league with an illegal boycott. By Wednesday, its executive director, Billy Hunter, was publicly raising the possibility that the players could form their own professional basketball league independent of the NBA.

Writer Toure reports that Hunter addressed the possibility during a panel discussion.
Billy Hunter: "The season is not yet on life support. There's still time to put on an abbreviated season... The players decision to blow up the union [decertify] was unanimous. They were high-fiving, sayin let's get it on! ... The owners are scared of Lebron style movement and want to keep players wedded to franchises.... Maybe we can start our own league. There are facilities where we can do that. Can't play at MSG but can play at St John's... There’s talk of getting a TV deal and creating a new league but it’d have to be with a network that’s unafraid to cross the NBA."
Not to overuse legal phrases because we're stuck in this quagmire of lawyers, but the burden of proof is on the players -- whether that's as individuals, a group, a union or a trade association -- to show that they can organize -- not to mention profit from -- anything besides one-off exhibition games. Since the lockout went into effect in July, the NBA's biggest stars have criss-crossed the country for charity and drawn crowds of varying sizes along the way. When big draws like LeBron James and Kevin Durant were involved, there was hardly an empty seat.

But when the players have attempted to put together anything larger in scale, it hasn't worked from an economics perspective. There was the entertaining Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series in Las Vegas, which drew dozens of players for two weeks of competitive 5-on-5 action. It also drew dozens of fans, literally, and never came close to selling out a gym that seats 500 people. There was also a globetrotting world tour that was expected to feature every big name star imaginable; that fizzled completely before the first stop, a visit to nearby Puerto Rico, could get off the ground.

Forming their own league -- however loosely you want to define that term -- is much more difficult than it sounds. The personnel infrastructure to support it, the buildings to house it, the sponsors to help pay for it, the television network to broadcast it: all of those are major, difficult questions that would need to be answered. Those answers would take precious time too.

A players' league is not impossible but it's also not particularly probable. The players would wind up playing, and risking injury, for a small fraction of their NBA salaries.

Hunter likely floats the idea here because he must appear totally serious about the players' antitrust lawsuits against the league. Even though most expect the lawsuits to lead to more negotiations rather than a years-long legal battle, Hunter has to at least pay lip service to the possibility of an alternative professional basketball reality without the NBA. Unfortunately, much like the decision to issue the disclaimer of interest, forming a league is something that he should have been planning carefully months ago if he felt a protracted legal battle was a real possibility. There's no reason that NBA All-Stars shouldn't be putting on a 10-city goodwill tour throughout December, entertaining fans and applying pressure on the negotiations along the way.

Instead, more players are heading overseas and Hunter continues to talk about future possibilities that will likely never come to fruition. Everybody loses. 

Hat tip: Slam Online 
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Comments

Since: Nov 7, 2011
Posted on: November 19, 2011 2:39 pm
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

A players league would amount to nothing more than a handful of impromptu all-star games, where it's all offense and no defense.   There are so many expenses associated with running a team:  the arena, officials, coaches, trainers, transportation, etc..  Also players would have to start their
own teams, which means an instant fan base would need to be generated  (I think fans follow the teams more than an individual player).  Also, they would immediately be in competition with the owners, who would be recruting from the colleges.  College players I'm sure would prefer to sign with the league owners, rather than a league created by former players.   If Hunter is trying to scare the owners using this as a threat (which even the most casual of fans can see as ridiculous) and depends on this to bring the owners back to negotiate, then the season is pretty much over.



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: November 19, 2011 1:45 pm
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

 I pay to watch the best basketball players in the world and I think that those who generate the ampount of money that NBA players have a lot more power then you give them credit for. If the NBA owners thought they could make as much money with scabs, then thats the road they would be heading down. 

Players come and go all the time.  Real NBA fans don't stop following basketball because a superstar retires, they keep following their favourite team because they like the sport.  Today's players come from U.S colleges, highschools and overseas.  Guess what?  There are THOUSANDS more where they came from.  Would replacing them all at once be a little costly in the short term? Sure..... but that would never happen because when the owners beat these players in court, they'll be begging for their jobs back.  If they lose in court 80 percent of these players would beg for their job back and take less money to play in the NBA.

Right now their union is fooling them into thinking they could win an antitrust suit, bla bla bla.   Ridiculous... they are winning nothing. 



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: November 19, 2011 1:16 pm
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Go ahead and create your own league you dumb fucks!  No one will watch it because no one cares.  Most everyone is against the players in this shitfest so go right on and create your own league and make no money.  Thats all you morons care about so it seems pointless to me.

Most everyone is against the players? What world do you live on? I could care less who the fat old guy or former bets player in the world  sitting in the owners box is. I dont pay to watch him count his money and I could care less if hes only worth 1 billion instead of 5 billion. I pay to watch the best basketball players in the world and I think that those who generate the ampount of money that NBA players have a lot more power then you give them credit for. If the NBA owners thought they could make as much money with scabs, then thats the road they would be heading down.



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: November 19, 2011 1:12 pm
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

So what if the players could form their own league,i watch the bulls play reguardless of whose playing for them and the chicago bulls are copyrighted,so they then become the chicago cows?  No thankyou...Miami dung beetles does have a certain ring to it though.

Not me. I watch the best players in the world play. If Joe Schmo is the starting PG for the Bulls and you still are willing to shell out $100 a ticket, then more power to you. Id rather watch Derek Rose play whether in the NBA, over seas, or in a pickup game then some division 2 talent scab whether his jersey says Bulls or not. 



Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: November 19, 2011 11:03 am
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Abbreviated season, huh?

This is the height of arrogance. No matter how crappy the league becomes, these guys believe that whatever they do will somehow count. I don't think this is much more than a slap in the face of the fans. I think the fans will agree with that.





Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: November 19, 2011 11:01 am
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Renegade pro leagues are not unique to sports. The Players League in baseball back in the early days was a flop.

You need corporate sponsors and national advertising and a brand that can be marketed. Otherwise, you are a Bingo Long Traveling All Stars & Motor Kings ... and you have to establish a set of rules to make it work across the board.

So pickup leagues are fine.

Epic stupidity, however.




Since: Dec 5, 2010
Posted on: November 19, 2011 4:00 am
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

So what if the players could form their own league,i watch the bulls play reguardless of whose playing for them and the chicago bulls are copyrighted,so they then become the chicago cows?  No thankyou...Miami dung beetles does have a certain ring to it though.



Since: Apr 3, 2010
Posted on: November 19, 2011 3:38 am
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Go ahead and create your own league you dumb fucks!  No one will watch it because no one cares.  Most everyone is against the players in this shitfest so go right on and create your own league and make no money.  Thats all you morons care about so it seems pointless to me.



Since: Jun 3, 2007
Posted on: November 19, 2011 1:57 am
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

NBA on PBS its faaaaaaaaannnntastic!



Since: Jul 22, 2010
Posted on: November 19, 2011 1:46 am
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

 This is really a good concept but I don't think the players could do this and make it work on a long term basis.  It is a very good bargaining chip!  I could see the "independent" league doing well, but for a short time.  If the players are smart they will do a charity run so to speak.  I'm not taking sides on who is right or wrong between the two, just to set the record straight.  If the players got together and set up there own schedule for "good will" status, played some games sending the $ to worthy causes, they could make the owners crumble in a very short time.  The inmates have ruled the NBA for quite sometime, and I don't see it changing anytime soon.  If I was an Owner I would take what I could get at this point.  As of right now I am enjoying Hockey very much, so take your time. lol


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