With regards to the current NBA lockout, here is a crazy idea that would seem feasible. With the top level NBA talent having made hundreds of millions of dollars individually and many having experience or aspirations of business sense, why wouldn’t the players just cut the owners out and re-create the league?
The arenas are usually public owned and currently without tenants. The demand is there and if the players league shrunk to 12 teams or so the concentration of great players would be such that there would be little problem in securing millions/billions in TV money.
The players already have been planning games and events this summer, granted on a much smaller scale. Several players also have to have hundreds of millions of dollars which is more than enough capital to start a league until the TV, merchandise and attendance money come in. Do the players need the NBA?
A player league thrown together in a month could be at least as organized and stable as many of the Europe leagues based on the stories one hears about what goes on there. Odds are that any sort of serious attempt at a player league would scare the owners into a settlement or bring fans to the players' side.
This is almost certainly more complicated than Greg T. would suggest. That said, if a model like this -- even if it took a year to figure out -- could exist in any of the major pro sports, we have to say basketball is the best shot for a lot of the reasons Greg outlined (wealth of players, business interests) as well as the structure of the sport, which seems to require less organization, equipment and planning to put meaningful games together than, say, football or baseball. At the base level, you really just need a place to play, qualified players, a ball and a few referees.
We're interested in your thoughts: Could a player-run league make it on a major level?