Rick Barry: “I think Billy Hunter is one of the worst things that happened to the NBA”

November 9, 2011 – 10:30 am by Chris Fedor

The NBA Lockout has now officially lasted about two months than longer Kim Kardashian’s marriage to Kris Humphries and it continues to be a frustrating time for NBA fans around the world. Commissioner David Stern and the owners made a new proposal to the players and the deadline for them to accept the current deal on the table is close of business today. Based on all the words that came from the player’s side last night, it looks like the players are not going to accept this deal. NBA Hall-Of-Famer Rick Barry is one of the more opinionated guys that I have heard when it comes to talking about the lockout and he is pointing the finger at just one person. It’s not David Stern and it’s not the owners. It’s the Executive Director of the Player’s Association, Billy Hunter.

Rick Barry joined KNBR in San Francisco with Gary and Larry to talk about what punishment he thinks is fair for Joe Paterno at Penn State, what he makes of the NBA Lockout, what he would do about the lockout if he was still a player in the NBA, whether or not he thinks the owners are being fair with their demands, and whether or not he thinks the league will return by Christmas.

On what punishment he thinks is fair for Joe Paterno at Penn State:

“First of all, he made an egregious error by not reporting this, looking into it, and letting it fall by the wayside was irresponsible on his part to say the least. There has to be some kinds of consequences for that without question. It’s just unfortunate that things like this actually do take place. I’m all for the severest penalties when it comes to things like that.”

What he makes of the NBA Lockout:

“If I was still a player today I would be totally ticked off by the fact that we didn’t make a deal months ago. I really do believe that this could’ve been resolved and should’ve been resolved a long time ago. Why they always have to come down to this I don’t know. I’m not a big fan of Billy Hunter. I think Billy Hunter is one of the worst things that happened to the NBA. Yes he got them an unbelievable deal last time but he also was responsible for the lockout in the late 90’s which cost the players one third of their salaries basically and got nothing for it. The same thing is happening here. What they’re doing is they’re making a situation which is a bad situation worse by standing firm. Standing firm for what? You’re standing firm to get nothing. All you’re trying to do is minimize the losses that you have to accept in order for there to be a deal put in place. The owners have made it perfectly clear they can’t survive with the way the deal was last time. I keep reading these statements ‘well we’re not going to give back what we fought so hard to get.’ Well what you got was more than you should’ve gotten. Accept it, lick your wounds, make a deal, take a little bit of a reduction. Plus what I’ve heard is that they’re not actually going to lose their salary. The guys that are playing now, it will have no impact on their salaries. This is for the future. Chauncey Billups coming out and saying ‘I’m willing to lose my 14 million dollars.’ For what? That’s just idiotic from an economic standpoint.”

What he would do about the lockout if he was still a player in the NBA today:

“I would call up all the top named players that I know, I would go on as many radio interviews and TV interviews, and I would call up and be talking to the executive board and Billy Hunter and saying ‘hey we want to play ball”. This is ridiculous. For them to take the position and assume the majority of their members would not want to hear the 50/50 proposal brought to them, saying we can’t bring that to our members here. Baloney! It’s your responsibility to bring it to the membership. The majority of guys who are going to be affected by what’s happening here, it’s a big deal for them. 70 percent of these guys, they’re fighting over these exceptions and all that other stuff. 70 percent of the guys in the freaking league will never be a part of the mid-level exception.”

Whether or not he thinks David Stern and the owners are being fair:

“Yeah. These guys are making so much freaking money, they have the best deal of anybody in sports and they’re saying ‘guys look we screwed up.’ We gave you a deal that was so freaking good but times have changed, the economy changed, and we can’t survive with this deal. We have 22 of our 30 teams losing money and you know sometimes they insult people. I know for a fact there was an independent party that went out and did all of the research to get all the documentation for the dollar values and what the teams are doing. One of the top executives in the NBA signed off on it and he signs off on it and then the NBA Players Association, Billy Hunter, is saying we don’t believe these numbers.”

If he thinks the NBA will resume playing by Christmas:

“I would think so. If they put it to the vote of the players I would think the majority of the players are smart enough to realize this is foolish, that they’re losing more and more money every single day that they don’t start playing basketball and they’ll come to an agreement so we will have training camps opening up and basketball by Christmas. If not, the game is in serious jeopardy. It’s not going to be a good thing for NBA Basketball if they don’t agree to this deal.”

Listen to Rick Barry on KNBR here

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  1. 19 Responses to “Rick Barry: “I think Billy Hunter is one of the worst things that happened to the NBA””

  2. Funny how these same black players would probably be down at Wall St. protesting to get a bigger share of the money corporations earned but when THEY are the millionaires, they can’t be asked to give the money they earned back for the common cause of sustainability.
    If they wouldn’t be playing basketball they would be liberals.

    By ERIC on Nov 9, 2011

  3. Pray tell Rick Barry, which deal should the players have taken months ago?

    I find it strange how you heels in the media are blaming the players for prolonging this lockout given that:
    – it is a lockout, not a strike
    – The owners haven’t made any concessions based on the last CBA
    – The players have made a landslide of concessions based on the last CBA
    – Oh, the owners still haven’t made their finances public (though how many billions of public money flows their way?) to justify their claims of poverty
    -Speaking of claims of poverty by the owners, common sense dictates if the owners version of things were true teams like the Golden State Warriors would have sold for a fraction of the $450 Million Dollars it went for, and the hornets would have been picked up by the NBA for pennies on the dollar, not for $300 Million Dollars.

    If you could clear that up for me, it’d be much appreciated.

    By maclenon on Nov 9, 2011

  4. Hey, sorry if the above was a bit snarky.
    I get that you’re a little peeved a bunch of overgrown kids make more money in one year than you made in your entire career, I would be too.

    By maclenon on Nov 9, 2011

  5. On a side note. Did anyone ever think maybe former basketball players and friends of billionaires aren’t the most qualified people to be handling hundreds of millions of dollars in team salary. Maybe working on that angle would help alleviate some of the money problems going around?
    If the players salaries are tied to revenue and you have record revenues, and at the same time you have record losses, then it would seem there is some mismanagement going on their no?

    By maclenon on Nov 9, 2011

  6. Sounds like a jealous punk upset that today’s players get paid more than he did Boo Hoo. My respect for Barry dropped a ton. You weren’t even that great a player anyways. Go cry me a river and keep believing the lies you get fed from David Stern and the owners. You’re a disgrace to players and working people all over the country.

    By David on Nov 9, 2011

  7. Rick is right on, as he usually is.

    By Tom on Nov 10, 2011

  8. David Dork, ever see Rick play, definitely top 20 player of all time and maybe even better, just a step below Larry Bird and on the same level as Dr. J.

    Sure, the players are making obscene amounts of money, so do most other professional athletes. Face it, the economy sucks and the NBA is losing money. The players should be thankful for what they got and aren’t in the situatiobn of the most of the rest of the nation. Plus their selfish does affect the incomes and livelihood of countless other little guys who are out of work because there are no games.

    It’s time to play ball — it’s in the best interests of the majority of the people involved.

    By Tom on Nov 10, 2011

  9. everybody keeps saying owners are losing money. Then open the darn books. I’m pretty sure their accounting doesn’t include the public money they are receiving for free……Losing money…..yeah right.

    By ian on Nov 10, 2011

  10. I hope the players who are rookies are prepared to compete with next years rookies and those on the downward spiral of their careers have saved for a rainy day. The ripple effect of walking away with no deal and a lost season is huge. The players believe their contracts are justified but every year its discussed that so many are overpaid based on performance. The guaranteed contracts the players get is a joke, just ask the NFL players, not to mention a soft cap. Rick Barry was an amazing player, anyone who disagrees can ask someone who has been around long enough to remember the ABA or is a basketball historian. If you don’t know the history of the sport please dont speak of his credibility as a former player and NBA Legend. I hope the NBA players get a fair deal but I am yet to see any of them say they have ever been overpaid. Whatever the owners are doing is strictly business. An independent auditor going over the books is standard procedure for any failing business. Ask anyone who lost their business during this ongoing recession. fyi – the NBA isnt recession proof. Love the comments though… shows everyone is passionate and wants them to play this year.

    By M on Nov 10, 2011

  11. Does anyone asking about the books understand the difference between gross income and net income? Insolvency??

    By M on Nov 10, 2011

  12. I agree with you maclenon. Record numbers of profits and Losses…seeems like mismanagement to me as well. Also, Rick Barry was a great player, but needs to stop trying to suck up to the owners. I suppose he still trying to get a coaching job. Rick is a winer. Michael Jordan never should purchased the Bobcats for 300 million dollars…another bad business decision by your airness. Sell your team Mike.!!!

    By J on Nov 10, 2011

  13. Maclenon, you sound like an idiot. Do you think its right for the players to make millions and millions every year just for playing a damn game. They need and you need to grow up, smell some roses and realize life aint all about games, and just because you can put a ball through a hoop don’t mean you are worth a hundred million dollars. Its sick, several of them don’t even have 1 second of college and a bunch of them only go now because they have to, what it is teaching our society is its ok not to go to school as long as you spend 10 hrs a day playing games. I work 14-16 hrs a day 6 days a wk in road const building roads for people to travel on, I ha a bachelors degree in criminal justice and am grateful for the 50k a yr I make and they are argueing over BS, what about us who accually work for a living who support their rediculous lifestyle, don’t we deserve something. Sorry for ranting but his comment was idiotic and he is an idiot

    By Duaine on Nov 10, 2011

  14. Everyone else ignored him, but I won’t since Eric’s comment was the first. The NBA has a record number of international players compared to when the last deal was brokered. So this isn’t just a ***Black*** ball player issue since there will be few Black ballplayers making less money throughout this contract. But thank you for spreading your personal non-basketball bias into the discussion and trying to make it look relevant… although it isn’t.

    In one respect you are right about the similarity to the ball players and the Wall St. protesters. Both groups protesting the fact that the owners/bankers/corporate heads have mismanaged their money and are looking at their workers, the middle-class (’cause between the Billionaire owners and the Thousand-aire concessions people, the players are the NBA middle-classe) is being expected to cover the losses of the rich. The Wall St. folks and the Ballplayers are just want the people at the top to be fiscally responsible and not play games with their livelihood. Keep in mind, owners don’t have multiple surgeries, chronic back and joint pain, and mega bills for doctors and pain killers because of their association with basketball. The players do. An engineer making $70,000 can have a 30 year career and make 2 million. Most rookies won’t make it past their rookie contract and will never see a fraction of that amount. You can’t compare their situation to the average person’s.

    I’m a Knicks fan, and the Knicks need to give up a bigger revenue share. Owners should share first if they love the game. If they don’t love it, they should sell their team.
    I’m a Rick Barry fan, and while I don’t agree with everything he says, he is pretty on point. And he actually was one of the best small forwards in history.
    I’m a Black person that hates people who complanin about Black NBA player salaries and the “average worker”. You never hear Black people complain about NHL salaries. If Black players salaries in the NBA is an issue, but not White players in the NHL, that your problem is not the salaries, it’s the Black. There are skinhead sites for your issues, but keep them off the sports blogs.

    By Dwane T. on Nov 10, 2011

  15. Eric sounds like a fucking racist.

    By Aston on Nov 10, 2011

  16. I agree with you Dwane about Eric being a racist
    Not one of the blog entries made mention of race
    I think most people have issue with the fact that the players have thus far made all of the consessions while the owners have made none. Is that a fair bargaining practice? I think not. And it should be kept in mind that niether the owners or the players exist without each other. so with having being said I also think the owners need to realize that the players are their most valuable asset and should be treated as such. If an owner has signed a contract sans the one Orlando gave to a player that could do nothing but shoot an inconsistent jumpshot, thats the owners fault. Dont put it on the players back to correct it. They didnt consult with a player before it was made so grin and bear it. Make no mistake players should alwaws get more than the owners for the simple fact that they are the face of the league. People dont recognize owners while they do the owners. I also fail to see how they lost money last year and the NBA is at the historical height of its popularity. This was due to the fact that there were teams in the playoffs that hadnt been there. As for Rick Barry, he obviously has forgotten what it was like to be a player. Its very easy to forget where you came from case in point Michael Jordan. How can you stand up at one time in your life and tell an owner to sell his team if he cant make a profit and now that youre on the other side of the table that same advice doesnt hold true for you. In case you didnt know, In Mikes case He first purchased a subpar team Second he is known for piss poor personnel decisions. Third ,any business school will tell you in the business world a new business should expect losses in the first two years. Has it been two years since he got the team. Lastly he has never felt he was rank and file anyway so dont be so shocked. I may be wrong on an issue or two but hopefully the point is clear

    By Gernard on Nov 11, 2011

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