You don’t need to be in the marketing business to know that the NBA is looking to expand their reach. The league has made no secret of their plans for global domination, it’s as much of a given as a rap breakdown in the middle of a mainstream pop song - you can bet on it! Although the headlines right now are all about Kevin Durant setting a world record (for largest basketball practice ever) I think it’s more interesting to look ahead to where this is all leading.
For one, I like the idea of leveraging NBA players to teach kids about basketball. Ever since I heard about the opportunity, I knew I would eventually send my children to a Warriors camp (assuming they are into it).
So of course the NBA is starting their international expansion with a similar idea. Here, you can see for yourself if you care to watch this one minute video put out by the NBA:
In the video, you see some of the most basic practice instructions - activities very similar to those taught to my 5 year-old son at the Oakland YMCA this summer. Will the basic defensive slide drill, and some light dribbling really help these kids hone their basketball talent? Maybe a bit. But the more germane outcome is that these activities hone their basketball interest.
The program in India is just the first step. Three in China, One in Senegal, and one in Australia. While the skeptic in me wants to just point out the business drivers here, I think it’s important to look at the soft squishy, human side of the story as well; sports bring people together.
"Sports has the ability to unite people, and this record-setting NBA clinic led by Finals MVP Kevin Durant helped us connect young basketball players throughout the country in a single event," said NBA India Managing Director Yannick Colaco. "We are growing the game of basketball in India, and having Kevin here, one of the world's greatest players, will no doubt inspire countless young boys and girls to stay healthy and active and believe that they can do anything."
Remember that Durant prides himself on his story serving as a role model for children in poverty. (side note: why does the SBN publishing platform hate Imgur links so much?).
Anyways, if you get mad when the Warriors are forced (yet again) to jet off to China for exhibition games in early October, let’s all try and appreciate that this is actually one of those rare moves that is for the good of the game.