Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Derrick Rose Create the NPA

 July 8th, 2011

Kobe and his peers would go from 40 Million Dollar Slaves to billionaire owners

First things first, rest in power forward professionalism Armen Gilliam. I hope we all go out doing something we have forever loved just the same…

Now…as basketball fans world wide brace for a NBA work stoppage, my agent/manager/brother/friend and I proposed a solution to end the lockout: Take the top 80 players and form a new league…the National Players Association…

Those who have frequented The Starting Five have a good idea we’re about talent benefiting the most from the hard work it takes to rise through the ranks of any respective field.

No one entity should benefit more than the talent itself.

Do athletes get enough of the pie? As Chris Rock says…and I’m paraphrasing…players are rich but owners are wealthy.

Players do you want to build your own legacy or continue to stuff the coffers of billionaires?

Despite proof in the contrary, the NBA is claiming league wide financial losses. Are all teams doing great? Of course not, but ownership seeks to financially capitalize more and pay the players less despite the preponderance of evidence suggesting some front offices fail to manage player transactions with common sense logic.

Since players are the physical source driving the league’s success, why shouldn’t financial gains more accurately reflect fruits of athletic labor? You hear all the time and might think yourself players make way too much money for playing a game but what about the owners? What about their greed and why are we so stuck in this 20th century industrial complex…loving and living everything corporate that wrestles power from the people anyway?

Since the NBA has chosen to lockout its most valuable commodity, this is a perfect opportunity for the players to make the NBA realize there is no league without the actual talent.

The players making up the league’s stars should have enough money to pool their diverse set of talents together. This is nothing radical. Instead of barnstorming overseas as some have alluded to, play here at home in America!

The fans want to see the game especially after such a riveting season. Putting the top 80 players together, fans would be privy to pseudo all star games every single night. Kids would lose their minds after games because so many stars would be available for autographs. Imagine the Christmas eyes highlighting a young child’s smile.

Just think how competitive this league would be…a virtual highlight reel…again…every single night.

Would the NBA have thrived this year without LeBron James? Love him or hate him, the economics behind The Decision cannot be questioned. Do you think LeBron pocketed as much money as he generated this season?

No. Hell no.

When Bosh, James and Wade decided to play together, my mind shot back to the summit in support of Muhammad Ali in 1967. This era is of a different and obviously more relaxed consciousness so of course the message varies, but the aim is the same…to establish more personal control over their livelihoods and again, cut out the middle man.

Front row: Bill Russell, Ali, Jim Brown, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (formerly Lew Alcindor). Back row: Mayor Carl Stokes, Walter Beach, Bobby Mitchell, Sid Williams, Curtis McClinton, Willie Davis, Jim Shorter and John Wooten

Curt Flood also comes to mind and a serious challenge to the system is needed once again. Foundations should also be set up for those needing a helping hand.

This isn’t just about the money.

Charity events established with the sole aim of benefiting childhood education and better health would be a priority. Innovative ways of incorporating fan interaction would also help the NPA gain footing.

An executive committee would be formed…a sort of ambassadorial platform…giving past basketball greats the opportunity to influence a new generation of fans. Some examples of former stars are Oscar Robertson, Spencer Haywood, John Stockton, KC Jones, Tom Chambers and Detlef Schrempf.

If the entire ’11-’12 season is squandered because of the NBA lockout, big money will potentially be forfeited by the NBA’s TV network partners just in ad revenue.

FOX Sports, if partnered with the NPA, would benefit tremendously. Nike has had a hand in creating great market brands for incoming stars, so this also would build their reach even more so. Solves the Adidas uniform contract and Spaulding basketball NBA deals.

I love the Nike basketball anyway.

There would be no cap (a great source on the NBA salary cap) or age limit.

How would this league be funded?

The top 24 stars (East and West All-Star Teams) invest 10 million each (on credit) to get the league up and running. 3 owners to a team and the NPA would be made up of cities not involved in the NBA. Corporate NBA partners will not be a part of the league…their competitors will (TV, apparel, transportation, concessions, equipment, etc.). Overseas markets will have games streamed at a $1.99 per game fee.

Teams would play 2 games a week either on Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday. No weekends. 6 month regular season. 48 games. Every team makes playoffs. As writer Sandy Dover very eloquently stated in a phone call this morning, “A move like this from the players would give the game back its purity.” Again, no middle man. The NBA is trying to eliminate agents with a rookie scale and a hard cap. Agents would be able to negotiate endorsement deals on the NPA players behalf.

Here are the cities followed by owners:

Anaheim, California (West):

Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol

Las Vegas, Nevada (West):

Deron Williams, Dwight Howard and Kevin Love

Louisville, Kentucky (East):

Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook

Kansas City, Missouri (West):

Derrick Rose, Joe Johnson and Joakim Noah

Newark, New Jersey (East):

Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (East):

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo

Tampa, Florida (East):

Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James

Vancouver, Canada (West):

Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash and Tyson Chandler

The remaining 56 players would be selected in a draft taking place in Las Vegas. Of course Pittsburgh would pick Ray Allen. Every team gets a ping pong ball. Whoever picks last would go first in next round. A lottery determines draft order and would include lucky fans in each NPA city winning a to be determined online contest.

If orchestrated with intelligent and tempered professionalism, NBA players would clamor to play in the NPA. The players would police themselves because their money is at stake. The pool of remaining NBA players would replace unfortunate injuries.

Referees would have to go through a tryout process.  Media credentials would be given out based on talent and nothing else. Bloggers and small publications would be considered the same as major outlets. There will be no entitlement.

Players would double investment in no time and banks would be paid back very quickly. The economy would get a much needed boost by the potential billions generated. Think of the jobs created by such a venture.

3 billion potential consumers in Africa, India and the rest of Asia in online views for a half a year season plus the NPA playoffs.

Let’s say the Total Revenue Income (TRI) is $2.4 billion. On a conservative consideration 300 million to each team in revenue. 150 million goes to original investors. The other goes to administrative services, expenses and other players.

So instead of the max players making 19 million, 50 million becomes their take home. There is a catch for the players…each NPA player would have to go through a training session with Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon to work on post moves. A “Dream Camp” if you will. Looking at you, LBJ and KD. Kobe and Dwight spent the summer with Dream and had great results.

Let’s talk about some other particulars…

TV Analyst: Gus Johnson

Color commentary: Bob Costas

The NPA logo would be the likeness of the player perfecting the most unstoppable shot in the history of the sport…the sky hook…

(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Kareem saw the future

To be blunt, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hasn’t gotten a fair shake by the league. We will never know how great a coach he would have been a crazy 25 years after he retired. He’s a legendary icon who is one of sports most accomplished athletes and scholars. Absurd he didn’t get a serious shot to become a head coach. Whatever you need here Cap but for now, smile for the camera sir, and get this logo shine.

Who would be the commissioner you say?

A rebel with some balls…

Bill Simmons would be a fair commissioner to advance the game forward based on his commitment and love for the game. After all, he did write a 750 page book on everything basketball. Like him or not, he’s actually one of the few writers challenging a mainstream perspective tired, exclusive and without intrigue…despite the Celtic green of his computer screen.

These numbers are conservative and are used simply to show the potential of what something like the NPA could accomplish globally.

To repeat…$2.4 billion divided by 8 NPA Teams. That’s $300 million per team. Owners/stars would get $50 million each in Total Revenue Income (TRI).

If the players go through with this commitment it will undoubtedly revolutionize sports.

A record 263 hopefuls to NBA D-League tryout camp. Good luck with that fellas. Owners the ball is your court. Sports fans. Get ready for the NPA.

Creative Commons License
National Players Association by Michael Tillery is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

99 Responses to “Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Derrick Rose Create the NPA”

  1. You tell me if this wasn’t a NPA jack move fam.

    I say yes. The co-op continues. Come up with your own stuff people. Too many brains to steal work.

  2. Ron Glover says:

    These cats have no shame. What can we do about this?

  3. MODI says:

    mizzo, great concept, article, and idea! the contractual obligations seem to be the most serious obstacle as has been pointed out. Otherwise, it seems that all the particulars that are being critiqued can all be worked out.

    I would like to see an outfit like HBO sports become the media outlet to carry games and possibly become a 24-hour channel. You will definitely lose all of ESPN’s free advertising.

    T3, I thought SAS article was seriously contrived and does more damage to the union than D-Wil or Beasley. I also can’t dismiss that this is intentional since he works for the NBA’s corporate partner.

    And if I could play poppsych for a minute, SAS may very well be projecting his own failed attempts in once trying to fight the machine. He used to have the best talk show on TV — but that didn’t work. He left ESPN for greener pastures — but that didn’t work. At this point he just may be a scarred, cynical, and disillusioned company man…

  4. Thanks Modi and everyone else. This is just the beginning.

    Appreciate you posting those arenas JD. Makes it more real for folks.

    Ron it happens all the time. I’m not the only writer it’s happened to and as someone just told me, you can’t copyright an opinion.

    Even Simmons posted this on his site a mere hours after the NPA piece went up.

    Funny stuff. He sure distanced himself from this piece didn’t he?

    We’re doing the right things people…let’s all keep it up.

  5. MODI says:

    miz, while attribution is always preferred — i would rather an important idea be stolen than ignored. To some degree that is part of the plan — depending on the value of the topic…

    After the Yankees beat the Phillies, I watched a Lupica parting shot on Mariano Rivera that was almost verbatim of a paragraph I wrote. So detailed that a coincidence was not conceivably possible. Someone must have sent it to him, since I doubt he reads SOMM. First reaction was WTF, second was happy to influence that guy. And it was far less important than what this is about

    At the end of the day, your post is on record. sometimes a chain reaction starts here

  6. Well said family and like I said to Panger on twitter, I didn’t want to come across as some unrealistic jaded asshole bringing what seems obvious to light…I’m encouraged more than anything.

  7. TKG says:

    Vegas has legalized sports betting and no major sports team has a franchise there. If MLB, NBA, and the NFL are afraid of the damage that perception of sketchyness in Vegas would cause, an experiment like this can’t afford the bad PR from a Vegas franchise.

    Not sure where I would put another team in West but not Nevada.

  8. Thanks for your comment, but obviously I disagree.

  9. MODI says:

    If I am not mistaken, the Maloof brothers essentially had their bags packed to take the Kings to Vegas until Sacramento agreed to finance stadium costs.

  10. eric daniels says:

    Let’s see will the white press(i.e ESPN) jump down on the women’s soccer team for choking the world cup to Japan when they had 1-0 leads and a 2-1 lead late and choked in penalty kick phase. I highly doubt Skip Bayless and the rest of his white cohorts will criticize those white girls for choking “in the clutch” like they did Le Bron, D- Wade and Bosh after they showered all that praise on the Women’s soccer team.


  11. […] Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Derrick Rose Create the NPA | The Starting FiveA proposal for the players that if orchestrated with intelligent professionalism will effectively stop the NBA lockout according to Michael Tillery. […]

  12. michelle says:


  13. michelle says:

    @ Brent it takes money to make money….If people approached business like you, most of the fortune 500 companies wouldnt exist..

  14. michelle says:

    They sure did Eric. Japan never beat the US until now. Major upset…

  15. RBD says:

    The Kings were bound for Anaheim, not Vegas.

  16. RBD do your research.

  17. RBD says:

    Actually, we’re both right.
    The Maloofs threatened to move to Vegas in 2006 and to Anaheim in 2011.

  18. Julius says:

    eric daniels, your bile filled analogy is stupid. With The Heat it was all about the hype and expectations. They had 2 of the 3 best players in the NBA on their roster. They were the favorite to win it all. This women’s soccer team came out of nowhere as underdogs. Get a grip. You look like a fool who was salivating for an opportunity to tear into white girls for some reason.

  19. MODI says:

    in promoting women’s sports — something that is sorely needed — it would be really nice to embrace this soccer team like race had nothing to do with it. But we’ve seen this American love affair before with the soccer team in the 1990’s and the Olympic Softball team (note: that softball team was elevated to prominence as the counterpoint of the reviled Men’s basket ball team)

    Rooting for these white women teams would be completely fine and dandy if the most continually successful team– the USA women’s basketball team that won like 5 straight gold media was given the media time of day, let alone turned into national darlings.

  20. eric daniels says:

    Yeah Julius just like those white boys who tore into Le Bron, Wade, and Bosh with their racial slurs before the season after they lost to Dallas in the finals .Yeah White American Sports Fans are so non- racist, open-minded and full of love for black athletes. If Women’s sports want to be taken seriously in the United States they should be able to take the same criticism when they FUCK UP Julius. They were favored to win the World Cup going away after Germany lost and they won on penalty kick against Brazil.

    And quess what Mr. Conservative black athlete bashing SOB, Those White Girls choked and when the pressure was on them they looked like deers in the headlights wondering “WTF” am I here doing this kick for? while Japan didn’t quit, and keep coming back. And what do we get for that the “WHITE LAMESTREAM MEDIA” defending their effort instead of being honest and giving them legitimate criticism. Just like the smirks and evil smiles on Skip Bayless and his fellow media cronies faces when Miami lost to Dallas and the torrent of criticism and racial rhetoric that came from white sports fans all I hear from people like you Julius is….


  21. eric daniels says:

    And Julius YOU DUMB FUCK,

    The United States Women’s soccer team was the No.1 ranked team in the world THE DEFENDING OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL WINNER and the favorite to win the World Cup and they CHOKED IN THE CLUTCH to a team that has never beaten them.

  22. […] by extending the brand internationally? We wish more NBA players would consider our noted colleague Michael Tillery’s suggestion to form their own league and really throw a dunk down in negotiations. But, unfortunately, […]

  23. Ron Glover says:

    The American sports media was so worked up over the loss that they questioned the overtime rule of penalty kicks.

    Funny how there was no question of that when they beat Brazil,courtesy of that rule.

  24. Ron Glover says:

    Before the loss to Japan in the finals, the US Women’s Team was 22-0-3 all-time against Japan.

    Real underdogs.

  25. Sports Cloud says:

    I like this a lot. It’s a good idea that’s well thought out and reasoned. Great post.

    (I’m not understanding some of the USA and Japan talk in the comments. Did I miss something?)

  26. It’s already happening people. Kobe, Durant and Rose take in 400k tax free in the Philippines. The NBA is about to have a problem…

  27. […] person to have an idea about the lockout. I am not even the first person to have a variation of this particular idea, and so respect to Mike Tillery, and maybe also to somebody at the Huffington Post, who apparently […]

  28. […] Quotes like this make me wish Mike Tillery’s dream would come true. […]

  29. The above links are coming from sites linking to this piece. Folks are beginning to catch on. Here’s another link coming from the hard working Ken Berger of CBS Sports. Thanks to the respected Ryan Jones at SLAMonline, the very knowledgeable Tom Ziller of SBNation and the aforementioned Berger…one of the writers I see all over the country who understands the league more than most. Great reporter. Appreciate the links fellas.

  30. […] kind Michael Tillery of the Starting Five blog envisions an eight-team league in which […]

  31. […] was shortly after that that my man Michael Tillery (who, by the way, disagrees with me that the stars couldn’t put their own run together), from the terrific website The Starting Five, asked Anthony why the star players […]

  32. […] It was shortly after that that my man Michael Tillery (who, by the way, disagrees with me that the stars couldn’t put their own run together), from the terrific website The Starting Five, asked Anthony why the star players […]

  33. […] Players Association by Michael Tillery is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported […]

  34. […] a season will become a this year reality, but if not, as Amar’e Stoudemire suggested to ESPN, get on my NPA plan so fans of basketball get to see the game as it ever […]

  35. […] a season will become a this year reality, but if not, as Amar’e Stoudemire suggested to ESPN, get on my NPA plan so fans of basketball get to see the game as it ever […]

  36. […] this past summer, Michael Tillery masterfully laid out the plans for the formation of the National Players Association, which would […]

  37. […] months I found myself reflexively siding with the players. When my good friend and sports writer Mike Tillery suggested the players start their own league and laid out an operational plan, I nodded in […]

  38. […] As you can plainly see in the above link, the player’s stance is locked and true. This is a very serious matter from their POV. Let me say this…for the players to move anywhere south of 53% would be absolutely stupid. Think people. Read between the lines. I have to reiterate…this is not a strike but a lock out. Looks like it’s way past time for the NPA. […]

  39. Paul says:

    I love this idea, I know that I would actually be able to afford to go to games again. And since I am moving from a city with a team, Chicago, to one without a team, Kansas City, the hypothetical Rose playing there would just make it that much better. I can just imagine watching all star games every week, all star games that actually played defense. It would be the most exciting basketball in my lifetime, I just hope the players give it serious thought.

  40. […] 10 days ago. (Actually, as I’ve written before, The Starting Five’s Michael Tillery broached the idea much earlier this summer, at the start of the […]

  41. […] 10 days ago. (Actually, as I’ve written before, The Starting Five’s Michael Tillery broached the idea much earlier this summer, at the start of the […]

  42. I’ve preached this BEFORE Day 1!!! Just glad someone was able to actually put it together. My ideal scenario was to lean more on corporate sponsors but the idea of business savy players[financially able] looking to gain ownership & great return on investment is a good idea too….it could def work! Great post!

  43. […] But what kind of league are we going to put the U-18 team into? The NPA. […]

  44. […] happens. The NPA is widely scrutinized nationally, ownership robs the players of everything but their jocks in […]

  45. […] foul trouble. I would suspect he comes back with a full post up arsenal. Remember what I said what he and LeBron should do in the NPA piece? Yeah, do that young fella. Your game has no limits. Now eat a steak or […]

  46. […] brand development, like LeBron, is what they should be doing en masse. It’s why I wrote the NPA piece during the lockout. It was an education in empowerment based on the aforementioned Cleveland summit and continued by […]