Could NBA Players Pull Off "A League of Their Own"?

New York Knicks star Amar'e Stoudemire says players have discussed starting an alternate league should the current NBA lockout force the cancellation of the 2011-12 season.

Posted: 10/12/2011 09:12 AM EDT
Filed Under NBA lockout

Amar'e Stoudemire tells ESPNewYork.com that NBA players are considering starting their own league

The popular move during the NBA lockout for players who still want to compete and make a little money is to shop their skills to overseas teams.

 

But New York Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire tells ESPNNewYork.com that the players are considering starting their own league should the labor stalemate force the cancelation of the 2011-12 NBA season.

 

"Obviously we're trying to ... get this lockout resolved. We want to play NBA basketball,” Stoudemire said Tuesday night. “But if it doesn't happen, what are we gonna do? We can't just sit around and not do anything. So we have to figure out ways to now continue to play basketball at a high level against top competition and have fun doing it. So, that's the next step.”

 

The first thought is that pulling something together like an alternate league would be difficult. But when you consider the success of the barnstorming games many of the players have participated in around the league and the money a certain four-letter network might be willing to throw around, it could be interesting.

 

Would it be as lucrative as playing in the NBA this season, or even heading overseas? Certainly not.

 

But the idea does seem to have some possibilities as NBA-starved fans probably would welcome the chance to see their favorite players competing in a league that is a lot more grassroots. The fans packed the building this summer for the barnstorming sessions that often featured stars like Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and LeBron James.

 

A league that would feature most of the NBA stars and even a few castoffs would definitely draw fans in arenas and to television sets, while several high-dollar sponsors would more than likely look to capitalize off of it.

 

Let’s face it, the NBA lockout could linger on for quite some time unless the players are willing to accept substantially less than the 57 percent share of the revenue to which they are accustomed, and that they get used to the idea of some variation on a hard salary cap.

 

The owners are digging in their heels and showing no signs of being willing to compromise with the players. Commissioner David Stern cancelled the first two weeks of the NBA season on Monday and is hinting that more missed weeks are on the table.

 

"It's very, very serious. It's just a matter of us strategically coming up with a plan, a blueprint, and putting it together," Stoudemire said. "So we'll see how this lockout goes. If it goes one or two years, then we've got to start our own league."

 

Contact Terrance Harris at terrancefharris@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris

 (Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images)

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