The NBA lockout is a certainty at this point. We are just three weeks away from the tentative start of the 2011-2012 season, but there has been no improvement in conversation between the players association and the owners. All but the most optimistic fans have begrudgingly accepted a season without basketball, even prominent ESPN/Grantland writer Bill Simmons. However, unlike other fans, Simmons and another staff writer, Jay Kang, have devised a hypothetical plan to replace the NBA with an altogether more entertaining basketball league. Prepare yourself for “The Oracle”.

Through a series of back and forth e-mails, the two writers collaborated to create a league premised on the relegation/promotion model of European soccer. The top league, or A-league, would consist of 8 teams, each initially co-captained by a pair of current NBA superstars (no current teammates allowed). Some of their pairings included Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams, Dwayne Wade and Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitski, and Lebron James and Kobe Bryant. Our 8 pairs of co-captains would pick teams snake-style (the last team to pick in the first round picks first in the next round) from a pool of 64 current NBA players. Then, let the games begin.

Below the A-league would be a series of hypothetical teams  imagined by Simmons and Kang. There would be a UNC alumni team, a Duke alumni team, a team backed Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook), a team backed by Sergey Brin (creator of Google), and a horde of other eclectic teams vying for promotion to the A-league.

While the entire enterprise of creating “The Oracle” may have been a fun e-mail romp for Simmons and Kang, it also demonstrated how much more fun sport could be if some of the corporate structure was taken away and everyone was just allowed to play ball. Without going on a philosophical tirade (I’ll save that for another time), there is clearly something wrong with professional sport in America and I believe that a dramatic change in required. Here’s to hoping someone with deep pockets reads Simmons’ article and makes “The Oracle” a reality.

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