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: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:51 pm

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

I always enjoy a really good joke and this is one of them. These guys are so stupid it's unbelieveable
and so pray who will watch the games. You guys have really destroyed your game.
The NFL worked it out, MLB will have an agreement shortly and you idiots simply can't get the message
that nobody really cares and that we sport fans can really get along without you

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:36 pm

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league


After a month of playing games for th equivalent of $8.75/hr they'll be eating the owners' a$$e$ for 25% share of the revenue.

Since: Jul 10, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:29 pm

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

everyday is something new players chance of forming their own league is like mine having my own trucking company get real you morons take a deal and play

Since: Dec 2, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:16 pm

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

The players could form their own league? Sounds like a good idea. Seems that would free the NBA to start over as well, with players that would gladly play for half of what the "Occupy the Court" professional prima donna's currently receive. Frankly, I figure it would be every bit as entertaining with all the rebuilt NBA teams would be more equal in talent.

Since: Oct 5, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:08 pm

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Are you serious with your comments?

The NBA players are pretty clueless to begin with and to be honest receive more money than any other league by far.  They are entertainers, but they did not put up the money to put this league in place.  I love these money grubbing players that always buy over their heads and now want more because they think they formed this league. The league was formed by guys that got paid minimum wage!  They fought for the union but not to destroy the league.

Wake the Fu@@ up you idiot players!  Over payed cry babies at best and would not be able to find a job in the real world.

Form your own league - you've already lost me as a fan and you disgraced this sport.

Since: Dec 6, 2009
Posted on: November 17, 2011 8:42 pm

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Billy Hunter = Geek (Just look at that picture).

NBA Players = Overpaid crybabies.

Billy Hunter + NBA Players forming their own league = A real joke!

Since: Feb 11, 2007
Posted on: November 17, 2011 8:32 pm

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Go for it guys.  See how "easy" it is to secure facilities, consessions, ticket sales, parking, advertising, halftime shows, tv deals, uniforms, transportation, hotels, developmental leagues, physical therapists, nutritionists, retirement plans, payroll, benefits, workout areas, coaches, etc. etc. etc.

PLAYING basketball hardly makes them the slightest bit equipped to understand the business side of basketball.  They wouldn't have time to manage these details, and by the time they pay others to do these for them, they are making a fraction of what the NBA is already offering them.  Get real Billy Hunter.  The market doesn't call for another league and you are all crazy if you don't think there will be 100s of former college stars not currently in the NBA who would be willing to step in if the current NBA players start their own league.  Maybe we could see some fundamentals come back to the game instead of the ego driven ballhogging/showboating that we see now.

Since: Nov 17, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 8:17 pm

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

"There's no reason that NBA All-Stars shouldn't be putting on a 10-city goodwill tour throughout December, entertianing fans and applying pressure on the negotiations along the way."

- - why play a goodwill tour? As you said, "The players would wind up playing, and risking injury, for a smal fraction of their NBA salaries". 

If they were serious about it, the players could start their our league. They wouldn't have to run it, just be part equity owners. They could hire other individuals to run the day-to-day operations. Everyone who works for an NBA team right now that's out of work is availible. Right? Also, I''m sure there are more than enough investors to get the league off the ground.  They don't need to run it to long term provitability. They just nave to have it out their long enough for the NBA to realize that people could be intersted in the new league.  After the way the NBA did NBC, I'm sure they'd be willing to broadcast.  Faced with the possibility of losing 2-3 seasons and having a rival leauge drafting players, the NBA would likely rethink their position. 

Since: Oct 14, 2010
Posted on: November 17, 2011 8:11 pm

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Look at the picture of Billy Hunter in this blog.  Picture Dana Carvey as the Church Lady.  Billy is saying, "Isn't that special!"  Hunter, you are a joke. 

Since: Mar 19, 2010
Posted on: November 17, 2011 8:05 pm
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