Photo: Tony Manfred
Knicks star Amare Stoudemire said NBA players really are serious about starting their own league if the NBA lockout drags on today.”It’s definitely realistic.” he told reporters while promoting Sheets Energy Strips in New York City. “It’s all about the evolution of thought. If we put our minds together and really come up with a good game plan, we could.”
Stoudemire said he and other players have already discussed the league.
But before you get all excited about a grassroots NBA 2.0, there’s a host of issues that make a rogue league unlikely.
For one, the “league” seems like an attempt to gain leverage, not an actionable plan. Stoudemire gave no details about how the league would be organised, when the league would play, or who would be involved.
When asked which players he’s discussed the league with, Amare told us, “I said the other players, so I mean all the other players.”
The biggest leverage the owners have over the players is that with each passing week, the effect of players missing paychecks intensifies. Amare’s rogue league is a threat to that leverage — buts until it gets some names, dates, and other details, it looks like an empty one.
These guys don’t want to risk their bodies. When asked about how he feels about not being at Knicks training camp like he would be without the lockout, Amare said:
You want to play, but right now we just can’t. But you just got to take the time off and use the extra time to heal.
This underlines the fact that these guys suffer an physical beating, and they take every chance they can get to recharge. If Amare is still “healing” more than three months after the season, is he really going to put his body at risk by playing competitive ball in a players’ league?
Lockout negotiations would have to devolve considerably. Amare’s initial suggestion that players should start their own league was in response to David Stern’s comments about possibility missing “a year or two.”
Right now, we’re miles away from that point. If we’re still sitting here with a lockout in October 2012, this league is a more viable option.
But for now, the only form of quasi-professional basketball we’ll get are the exhibition street ball games that LeBron, Amare, and others have played in across the country.
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