Friday, October 14, 2011

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

Tired with slow moving NBA collective bargaining negotiations?  Delonte West is.  Since the free agent can’t sign with a new team until the lockout’s over, he instead took a job at a furniture warehouse in Maryland. 

Worried about life after basketball?  That’s top of mind for Brandon Jennings.  The Milwaukee Bucks guard has been interning in Under Armour’s footwear department since the summer.  Jennings goes into the office regularly and sits in on meetings with top executives.

Things have gotten so out of hand with the NBA season on hold that even the King, LeBron James, is flirting with the idea of playing in the NFL.  Never mind the fact the last time he put on pads and a helmet was for a State Farm commercial.

Furniture stores?  Internships?  The NFL?

With the first two weeks of the NBA season cancelled, and much more of it in jeopardy, the absence of basketball is causing players to think and do crazy things.  The craziest of them all?  The notion that someway, somehow, the players might walk away from the negotiating table to form their own league.  There’s a better chance of LeBron catching the winning touchdown in February’s Super Bowl.

Despite what the players may think, starting a league from scratch is much more complicated than throwing together the occasional exhibition game.  They’d need to find places to play, and a majority of arenas are owned or operated by NBA teams.  They’d need to generate enough revenue to cover salaries – remember this dispute is about money – and players made a collective $2.176 billion last season.  They’d also need to hire a couple-thousand person support staff to do everything from producing TV broadcasts to selling concessions on game nights, as well as experts in traditional management functions such as corporate sales, international affairs, marketing and retail operations.

They say Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Well, neither was the NBA.  It’ll take several years and boatloads of money for players to create a successful, rival league.

Their best option?  Drop the pipedream and stay at the negotiating table.

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