On Tuesday, June 16, Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report reported that Kyrie Irving said that the players could start their own league in a Nets player group chat. The reports were quickly refuted by multiple Nets players, and Kyrie subsequently left the Nets group chat — so we were told.
Kyrie has been one of the key players leading the charge against going to Disney World. So, what if Kyrie started a new, competing league? This is what the Irving Basketball Alliance (IBA) would look like:
Commissioner/Founder: Kyrie Irving
From the start of the IBA, Irving takes the reins and brings the league into the promised land. Irving understands that no league will beat the NBA in playing time during the NBA season, so Irving makes his league a summer league. This way, his base competition is with the NBA Summer League, a league that is primarily for prospects and G League castaways, and the Drew League, a league that typically features L.A.’s best basketball talent, including some NBA players on occasion. The league will run with normal NBA rules, with a few exceptions. For starters, the league will add the Uncle Drew Pepsi four-point line. The four-pointer will be 30 feet from the basket, just like in the BIG 3. Other than that, it’s just good old basketball.
To fund his league, Kyrie looks to his partnership with Nike. Each team will represent a shoe colorway he’s released so far with his signature shoe line. The team names and designs need to be fresh and eye-popping to attract new players and fans. Kyrie’s shoe designs provide a great template for teams to have fun jerseys that look like you’re playing NBA 2K MyTeam. Kyrie would start with six teams, including:
A Spongebob team is what the people want. This team will attract new basketball fans and re-energize basketball die-hards. Who doesn’t want to see someone in a full Spongebob uniform playing basketball?
Keep Sue Fresh
Irving’s friendship with the Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird is unrivaled. Often referred to as basketball’s favorite point guard friendship, their relationship grew out of a love of sneakers. And the shoe that represents their friendship is pure graffiti and pure fire. This team pays homage to the power of friendship as well as recognizing all basketball players, regardless of their gender.
An ode to his intergalactic-themed shoes and his alliance with the Brooklyn Nets, the Galaxy would bring back the New Jersey Nets vibes. Raised in West Orange, New Jersey, these shoes highlight Irving’s roots as well as his out-of-this-world talent.
While Kyrie’s passion for cereal fashion started with the Wheaties shoe, this was just the beginning. Responding to the organic fandom of both cereal and basketball, the Kyrie 4 partnership with General Mills created three elite shoes featuring Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Kix cereals and became one of Kyrie’s best signature lines. Naming a team for this successful line highlights the power of partnerships.
This one is personal. Kyrie caught the FRIENDS bug in reruns but fell in love with the show. Putting his name on a shoe to honor the hit sitcom was just one way that Irving memorialized his connection to FRIENDS. Naming a team for the show, and taking that team to Hollywood, Irving would honor the legendary series.
Why Players Should Leave the NBA and Join the IBA
Despite the rumors, the IBA would not be an alternative to the NBA. The IBA would be a league for the players, by the players. This would give the players another offseason outlet and keep basketball fans on the hook for another season.
Each IBA team would appoint an executive, but the players would coach themselves. Each team would elect its captain, who would become the team’s official player-coach. This player-coach is in charge of managing minutes, but he gives ultimate control to the players, allowing them to manage themselves and just play basketball without any media-induced perspective of hate between players and coaches. Like the XFL, players can be mic’d up, and brief interviews can be done on the sideline or even during free throws. This way, the fans get an interactive form of basketball with the players controlling their narrative. This removes all of the complaints and rumors spread by the media.
I’m not saying that the IBA should happen now or ever. But this imaginary league sparked by a rumor would bring an interesting perspective to basketball. The IBA would highlight the games rather than the celebrities and personalities, removing any concern about player-coach and player-coach-media relationships. Altering the dynamic of the team, removing athletes and large personalities from the grind of the rumor mill, fans might be treated to some good, old-fashioned basketball. But I’m not saying that this league should happen, I’m just saying it could be an intriguing alternative.