The National Basketball Association is a highly respected, profitable organization. It employs star athletes and it pays them very well. In fact it pays them much more money than many of them had ever dreamed of making. However, as much as they make, it is just a pittance when compared to what the owners earn. So, what is the problem?
The problem for the players is that the owners have set up an organization, which is designed to limit ownership possibilities in perpetuity. So, the most talented players can make many millions of dollars for a few years, and then those earnings will cease. However, the owners will continue to build millions of dollars in equity that they can leave to their heirs.
In the NBA, most of the major stars are African American. They provide the talent that motivates the fans to buy tickets and attend the games. The Commissioner and the Owners pride themselves on their astuteness and their managerial skills, and they tell the Players how lucky they are to have such great management.
Today's professional athletes have a greater awareness of their worldwide financial opportunities. They also have access to investment capital available to them. So, just suppose the star athletes and their advisers formed an Association with Teams located in the United States, Europe, and China.
This would be a new Association, let's call it the International Basketball Association, or IBA, for short. The financing would come from new owners who wanted to own a franchise, the investment community, and the television Industry. It could be structured so that the players also had strong equity positions, and voices and votes that they could use in the selection of the commissioners.
The owners would like to keep the players convinced that the NBA is successful, only because of their superior managerial skills. However these skills, as awesome as they may be, are absolutely worthless without the talented athletes that they have.
For example, should LeBron, Kevin, Kobe, Melo, Blake, Seth, Chris, and others began to have serious conversations regarding a new association, then at least two things would happen. The first is the investment community would be eager to finance such a venture. The second is that the NBA owners would find it in the goodness of their hearts to make it easier for the players to share in the NBA equities.
Please allow me to share a little bit of history with today's athletic superstars. Your talent in today's circumstances allow you to earn a great deal of money, and that is a good thing. You are not a victim, since there are now additional opportunities available to you. Some of you may not know it, but there was once a thriving Negro Baseball League here in the United States. Although the teams were owned by Negroes, and their games would often sell out venues like Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds. Their decline began when Major League Baseball signed Jackie Robinson.
The owners can afford to pay the players enormous salaries for just a few years. Then, they do not have to pay them anything, because there is an unending supply of new talent. This talent is the gasoline that makes their financial engines run. The players themselves may not be aware of just how essential they are, but the owners know, and they are hoping that the Players will not take this knowledge and use it in their own best interests. The message to today's athletes is, "The Ball is in your hands!"