There have been many empty threats and ludicrous statements made by both sides of the bargaining table since the NBA Lockout went into effect back on July 1. However, the statements made by former Executive Director of the NBA Players Association Billy Hunter earlier this week, just may win the prize for being the most ridiculous idea proposed by either side. According to “Slam Online” and the writer Toure who is the author of the book “Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?” state that Hunter, while speaking to a panel brought up an alternative to playing in the NBA. Hunter suggested that a Players League was a viable possibility.
The man who has led the fight for NBA players said “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.”
This proposal has more holes in it than a slice of Swiss cheese. Does Hunter truly believe that he can get financing and facilities to be able to field 30 new teams? Or would this just involve the NBA elite players; leaving the rank and file players to fend for themselves? Even if Hunter envisions a smaller league, where does he expect to find the people willing to put up the money to make this idea work? What network does Hunter expect to be broadcast on? Most likely it would be a niche channel such as “Versus” or “Spike” which would get the new league the ratings of a roller-derby match.
There have been many attempts over the last one hundred plus years to come up with alternatives to MLB, the NFL as well as the NBA, however only three leagues have become mainstays during that time-period. The American League in baseball, the AFL in football and the ABA in basketball all have become permanent fixtures in the world of sports. However, most alternative leagues die quick and painful deaths such as the ill-fated XFL.
The NBA players could not even get their charity barn-storming tour off the ground; does Hunter really think that they can organize their own alternative to the NBA? If he does then he is heading for some major disappointments before it all falls apart.