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: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: November 28, 2011 2:56 pm
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

why do fans think they are the sole reason N.B.A players get paid.well there not.nor is the fight over fan money. its T.v money.TV
TV contracts will dry up when the ratings decrease.  Add that to lackluster attendance at the games and I think the NBA is in some trouble.  I think this hurts them more than they thought it would. 

Owners blinked first. 



Since: Jul 7, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:02 pm
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

why do fans think they are the sole reason N.B.A players get paid.well there not.nor is the fight over fan money. its T.v money.



Since: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: November 25, 2011 11:26 am
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

I don't think the players have any idea how much money it takes to run a team/league so I hope they try to start their own league and learn first hand.  They definitely would not be able to pay themselves as much as they are expecting from the NBA




Since: Oct 16, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

When are they going to cancel the entire season.  I can't wait!



Since: Oct 16, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

When are they going to cancel the entire season.  I can't wait!



Since: Dec 1, 2006
Posted on: November 22, 2011 12:04 pm
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

I am not a union wizard but I figure if there is NO UNION then there cannot be scabs; I must be missing something.  Aren't they just a group, an association, a collection of people at this point?
Owners and players suck.



Since: Oct 10, 2008
Posted on: November 22, 2011 12:40 am
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Billy Hunter is an idiot. Why did they hire him? And do these greedy players make more than enough money already?



Since: Jun 7, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2011 9:37 pm
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

They could call it the And 1 Tour league. Lmao! Let's be serious for a second. All this money they are losing is coming from where? That's right, us the fans. This being a fact, enjoy your Christmas everyone n don't forget we are the group that's not losing money. Actually saving it! For me it is simple. I will never take the NBA seriously again if they allow the top player to leave small market team. Dont care if they sit the whole season to get it. This is why the NFL is by far the most profitable and successful professional sport. Baseball = money maker for small market teams. Not a sport when the playing field isn't fair. JMHO



Since: Jan 13, 2009
Posted on: November 21, 2011 2:44 pm
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Look at this mans photo--wouldnt you feel safe with him leading your group of overpaid idiots into a new venture where thier own money might be at risk--these fools dont have the guts, smarts, know how or work ethic to start their own league--nice threat though, i bet the owners are shaking inthier boots fearing that this would take over and replace the nba---evidence of this lack of stomes on the players part is how fast they are jumping onto to someone else's private plane and heading over seas to play for those dumb enough to pay to see them.  Billy, just shut up, bend over and take what papa stern is giving you like a man



Since: May 29, 2010
Posted on: November 21, 2011 1:24 am
 

Billy Hunter: Players could form own league

Hahahahahahahahaha!

Please, go ahead and try it!

It might actually be the only thing that (slowly) brings the players clarity.

Look at what Jordan said as a player, and look at what he says now as an owner.

Why do you think that is?


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