NBA PM: Hunter Discusses Forming League
Just as Amar’e Stoudemire told HOOPSWORLD and other members of the media last month, Billy Hunter believes that a new, player-owned basketball league is something the Players’ trade association (no longer a union) will have to consider.
While speaking in front of a panel with NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, Hunter addressed the current NBA lockout and explained some of the Players’ options.
“Maybe we can start our own league,” said Hunter, as quoted by Marcel Mutoni and Touré of SLAM. “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,” he continued.
Hunter also addressed the notion that the players are somehow not unified in their decision to disband the union in favor of taking legal action against the league.
“The owners are scared of LeBron (James) style movement and want to keep players wedded to franchises,” Hunter said. “The players’ decision to blow up the union was unanimous. They were high-fiving, sayin let’s get it on!”
It still seems unfeasible that the Players could form a league that would compete with the NBA’s infrastructure, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
Back in the early 1990s a group of rodeo cowboys became disgruntled with their share of revenue from the various circuits around the country. So 21 such professional bull riders each forked over $1,000 to start the Professional Bull Riders, which is now a 31-event tour with over 800 competitors from all over the world.
Now, whatever league the Players would theoretically form would obviously have an icy relationship with TV stations that might want a good relationship with the NBA; and any relationship with FIBA would be tricky to say the least. However, the Players have shown their entrepreneurial sensibilities during the lockout by putting together countless charity games.
Again, this option probably isn’t the first one on anyone’s mind. But if things don’t improve between the Owners and the Players for more than a year, it’s an option the Players might be forced to take.
Nick Young Thanks His Family, High School Coach
A lot of people think NBA players are elitist, cocky and unaware of the outside world, but Wizards guard Nick Young seemed particularly down to earth with HOOPSWORLD’s Bill Ingram in this clip from Josh Howard’s charity basketball game.
Jason Terry: ‘I’m a Fan Too’
Josh Howard’s Nov. 12 charity basketball game, which benefitted the Josh Howard Foundation, took place before the Players rejected the latest collective bargaining proposal from the Owners. However, Mavericks guard Jason Terry’s conversation with reporters, including HOOPSWORLD’s Bill Ingram, is still relevant because he conveyed his frustration on several points: the media, the owners, and why he still hasn’t received his NBA Championship Ring.
Terry’s issue with the media developed because he doesn’t feel that the truth is reaching the fans.
“Before I would watch ESPN and NBA TV to see what’s going on, but none of that stuff is ever accurate,” he said. “I was glad last week I got to actually go in the meeting to actually see what was going on. And you would be amazed at what was going on.”
Specifically, Terry believes that the Players aren’t fighting the Owners on a new CBA deal. Rather, Terry thinks it’s some of the Owners against the Players.
“It’s not all of them though,” Terry said of the Owners. “Again, everybody’s split on what we should do. A lot of them are like let’s just get the deal done so we can play. The other half of them, they want to make a profit. They’re businessmen, so you’ve got to expect that. But at the same time we are the players and we feel like the concessions that we have made, is we’re giving a lot back. At some point they have to come and meet us and get something done.
“It’s not even about having a season or not,” he continued. “It’s about having the right deal to have a season. Again, the terms that have been presented to us thus far, it’s not sufficient for us to start the season.”
And until the season starts, Terry’s hand will remain bare.
“It’s real frustrating,” Terry said when asked how it felt not to have his NBA Championship ring yet. “I’m a fan too so at the end of the day, I want to see basketball. I love football and hockey, but come one now, basketball is where it’s at. The game, when we left it, the state it was in was at an all-time high. We want to somehow get back to that point.”
Some might argue about whether or not the NBA was at an “all-time high” last season, but it’s easy to see why Terry would feel that way. He lives in the Dallas area, so when people come up to see him, they’re not always trying to talk to him about the lockout. Texans are still in a joy hangover from the Mavericks’ first title.
“Everywhere we go around, you know, people are excited,” Terry said. “They still know we’re the champs until this season gets done. And most important for us, we want to go out and defend this thing and go try to bring another one home because once you taste it, you want to get back out there and do it again.
“To our fans, we love them,” Terry continued. “We hear a lot about how the players are greedy. It’s not that. Players just want to go out and play the game that they love under fair terms. We’re right there with them (the fans). Just as bad as they want to see us, we want to be out there and that’s evident in a game like today. These guys are playing around the country all around trying to play. We want to be out there.”
Don’t Read This David Stern
The biggest risk for the NBA during this lockout is that the companies and sponsors involved with the league will learn they don’t need professional basketball to survive.
Coca-Cola could find other avenues to sell Sprite, Gatorade could focus of football and baseball, and so on…
The latest example is Foot Locker, which, as CNBC’s Darren Rovell pointed out on Twitter, isn’t missing the NBA at all.
“Lack of NBA doesn’t hurt Foot Locker earnings. Most exposure, company says, is in licensed apparel. NBA-related biz is 6% of overall biz.”
Don’t take American businesses for granted, because they’re learning to live without this league more and more each day.
Read This David Stern
KFC has entered itself into the NBA lockout discussion by pledging a “10 Peace Offering” of their fried chicken for the next negotiating session. A statement from the fast food chain said that if the Players and Owners name the “time and the place,” KFC will deliver a bucket of fried chicken.
It’s unclear what affect this will have on the labor negotiations, but it’s undeniably tough to sign a deal with greasy fingers. You can read more about this promotion here.
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