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AMARE: NBA PLAYERS THREATEN TO START NEW LEAGUE
Fri, 14 Oct 2011 05:09 PM EDT

If the NBA lockout forces the cancellation of the 2011-12 season, New York Knicks forward, Amare  Stoudamire said that players will give “serious” consideration to starting their own league.

According to Stoudemire, the possibility of forming an alternate league already has been discussed among players. Odds

“Obviously we’re trying to … get this lockout resolved. We want to play NBA basketball. 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,” Stoudemire said Tuesday night at a Manhattan Footlocker to promote his new sneaker, the Nike Air Max Sweep Thru. Scores

Scott Van Pelt

Knicks F Amare Stoudemire weighs in on the NBA lockout, his involvement in the negotiations, whether the players are unified, the expectations in New York and more.

There are, of course, many hurdles to be cleared before players get an alternate league off the ground. Among those include finding a source for player salaries, game venues, broadcast rights and player insurance, just to name a few.

Without addressing logistics, Stoudemire believes starting another league is an idea players will explore.

“If we don’t go to Europe, then let’s start our own league; that’s how I see it,” the 6-foot-11 forward/center said.

Stoudemire was asked to gauge “how serious” the idea is being considered. Las Vegas odds

“It’s very, very serious. It’s just a matter of us strategically coming up with a plan, a blueprint and putting it together,” he 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.”

What are the prospects of a player owned league? Can it be done and would NBA fans, commercial advertisers, and television and cable executives ever support such drastic move?  The answer is no Amare and any other NBA player that is considering such a prospect.

At first glance, individual NBA players unlike players in other professional leagues enjoy a level of notoriety and marketing independence ushered during the Jordan era. This probably has given the players a belief that they are bigger than the game. In some respects they are right.

What is the NBA without Lebron or Kobe? However, the problem is rooted in basic capitalism and the old boy network.  The owners are unified, have stadium contracts, long term television and advertisement agreements and own the franchise names. So, Amare, stop thinking of a plan or blueprint for players league. Please can we get back to the negotiation table and so the fans can watch you do what you do best.    

NBA commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the 2011-12 regular season Monday night, the 102nd day of the lockout.

Stern’s announcement marked just the second time in league history that a labor dispute has forced the cancellation of regular season games.

“We don’t want to lose games at all, man,” Stoudemire said. “It’s something that we just really don’t want to do. We want to play and play now. Obviously we can’t due to the circumstances so, you never know what the future holds.”Stoudemire is preaching for fans and those involved with the league to be patient.

“I think we’re pretty far apart, but the most important part is that we’re trying to work to get something done,” Stoudemire said earlier Tuesday while making appearances on “SportsCenter” and “ESPN First Take” at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters to promote his sneaker. “There are so many jobs at stake; their livelihoods are on the line. We’ll get a deal done eventually.”

As far as his personal future, Stoudemire reiterated that he has received offers from European clubs but hasn’t seriously considered the option — yet. “I think it definitely should be considered; it could be an option,” he said. “I think the next meeting is not scheduled yet, but I think after that next meeting then we can figure out where we really stand with this whole thing.”

Stoudemire participated in a charity game in Miami earlier this month featuring Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and others. NBA players have played in various charity games around the country over the last few months. They are expected to continue to do so.

The most structured lockout event was a two-week, NBA-only league in Las Vegas hosted by longtime trainer Joe Abunassar.

If the lockout continues to drag on, Stoudemire believes players may eventually provide a more permanent alternative to the NBA.

“If it (doesn’t) resolve then we’re thinking about starting our own league,” he said.

When, and if, the owners and players hold a joint news conference to announce a new collective bargaining agreement has been ratified, Stoudemire said the Knicks are prepared to contend with the Heat for a spot in the NBA Finals.

“We have a pretty solid team; we’re pretty confident with the guys we have now,” he said. “I think the moves we made this past season, bringing in Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, definitely helped us get to that championship level.”


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