Billy Hunter: Locked Out NBA Players Could Start Own League

Starting a player-run league could be difficult to do and would be hard to maintain, but could be interesting during the lockout.

Posted: 11/17/2011 11:00 PM EST
Billy Hunter

With no end in sight for the NBA lockout, NBA players' union executive director Billy Hunter told a panel recently that the locked out NBA players could start their own basketball league, according to a report on


"The season is not yet on life support,” Hunter said. “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."


This would be interesting but at the same time difficult to do in a short period of time. But it could work on a much smaller scale with less than a dozen teams and the league’s top stars.


College basketball arenas may be available and a couple of the networks might be willing to throw around some millions on the real chance that interest would be widespread.


But that said, is this is a permanent solution? No. Is it worth players possibly suffering serious injuries that could void their contracts with the NBA? Absolutely not.


The smarter moves certainly seems for the players and owners to return to the negotiating table and see if a deal can be hammered out before the entire 2011–12 season is lost and a players league actually starts to make sense.


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

(Photo: Patrick McDermott/GettyImages)