After watching (and at times attending) the summer of pro/ams and charity games, I’ve become more convinced than ever that the players need the NBA, too. They need the marketing, the building, the ability to create a professional event — the league builds the stage the players are on. Their relationship is symbiotic.
Throughout the lockout there has been talk that the players should just form their own league. Wednesday night Billy Hunter, director of the players
union trade association, jumped on board during an event where he was speaking with NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith.
“Maybe we can start our own league. There are faculties 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.”
“The owners are scared of LeBron style movement and want to keep players wedded to franchises … The players’ decision to blow up the union was unanimous. They were high-fiving, sayin let’s get it on!”
“The season is not yet on life support. There’s still time to put on an abbreviated season.”
As we’ve covered today, I agree that the owners want to squash LeBron James style player movement. That’s part of why we are here.
But the players do not have the money to start their own league and there is nobody who can build a stage for their talents like the NBA can. Are television networks not going to cross David Stern and the NBA? Yes, but only because they question the viability of said league and product they would get for their troubles. We’ve seen the summer leagues and their lack of defense, is that what it looks like? Entertaining for a night, but not sustainable for a league.
The players need the owners and the NBA. The owners need the players. Which is what makes this sad. Let’s hope Hunter is right and the season is not on life support, although it’s certainly not looking too good right now.