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
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 

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: November 18, 2011 10:27 am

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Who cares it's crap basketball, they can stay out forever they won't be missed

Since: Jan 15, 2009
Posted on: November 18, 2011 10:20 am

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Are you kidding? They would be bigger jerks then they are now. If this pipe dream came true they would think they were royalty or something like that.Those who started the league that is .It will never happen when they find out how much coin they have to lay out for every little thing to get it going including all the already super rich lawyers.Then they would lose it in a split second when nobody shows up for there games.They would be scared to front their own money to start this league.To much of a risk for them to lose every thing they have.Then to come begging to come back to the real NBA and the owners there.They would not get close to what they where offered .Billy Hunter should not even be involved he is there own worse enemy.They need to get rid of the union for ever just play basketball ,collect your GIANT paycheck and be thankfull GOD gave you this talent and not be so greedy.

Since: Dec 5, 2010
Posted on: November 18, 2011 9:58 am

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league


Since: Dec 5, 2010
Posted on: November 18, 2011 9:51 am

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league


Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: November 18, 2011 9:23 am

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Dude you are an idiot.  Who would fork over setup costs for a new league without knowing what their labor costs would be?  You know nothing of business just shutup and stand in the corner.

Since: Jan 30, 2011
Posted on: November 18, 2011 6:19 am

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

They can't manage to come to an agreement with the owneers on a collective bargining agreement.  How the he-- are they going to manage a league of their own.  The majority of them would probably be fired from Mc Donalds the first day on the job. 

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: November 18, 2011 6:15 am

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league


beer is great
Since: Mar 18, 2011
Posted on: November 18, 2011 6:01 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Feb 15, 2011
Posted on: November 18, 2011 1:08 am

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Really?? Ha.ha.ha for as long as you can laugh.
They didn't even know to dress at your first press release.

Investments nust have done well. Unlike the rest of us in America.

Can you see the top 30 players each buying a team? Can you see them with the banker?
How will you pay this  amount? Well... I don't have a guaranteed income - But.... The fans will come to watch me play.

Back to the players on their team....
With 12 of us ... if... we make a profit ... you each get 8 maybe 9%.
If we stink... we all lose I might not be able to pay you as much.

Players... ha,ha,ha - you really think the top 30 care about you........?  

Since: Jul 26, 2009
Posted on: November 18, 2011 1:02 am

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Maybe Le Elbow, Kobe and Kneeroy will front a new league.

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