NBA Could Be At Risk Of Losing Popularity To Streetball and Players To Overseas Teams

Published on: 23rd September, 2011

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david stern
NBA Could Be At Risk Of Losing Popularity To Streetball and Players To Overseas Teams  | read this item

New York — I’m no sociologist nor am I a basketball anthropologist but my instincts tell me we are approaching a breaking point in the professional sport of hoops, here in the United States that will have a permanent affect on how the game is viewed and distributed to masses of fans.

Confusing? You bet, but from the looks of things, NBA stars and their agents are not sitting on their collective duffs, waiting for Players Association representatives and NBA management types to come to an agreement anytime soon.

No, from the current inertia of the collective bargaining discussions have come a variety of broadcasters, entrepreneurs, and the players, themselves to create competitive basketball leagues, both here and overseas that are looking to either fill the needs of their buying public with games or sign NBA stars to contracts to bring their unique skills to all basketball posts far and wide.

And, why stop there? With those games will most assuredly come television executives who are forever on the lookout for unique programming to fill their hours on the tube.

The popularity of the sport in China is enormous, and growing steadily from that high base point. It is already the second most popular sport in Europe, after kickball (I mean soccer, er, football/futbol) and these teams appear anxious to add to their local cache with an NBA superstar or two.

The players themselves recognize their skills, at this high a level, are fleeting. They know their earning power is only available for a limited time, or until the next crop of young superstars enter the profession. Many of them recognize that this is their time to be making money from their talents and are becoming increasingly interested in taking advantage of any opportunities to earn a living in return for their high-flying, slick passing, sweet-shooting talents.

Now, we are seeing a breakout of regional basketball “leagues” sprouting up, being run by entrepreneurs in New York, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and several other markets. These leagues are all about streetball, the razzmatazz aspect of basketball that you would never see on an NBA floor. Up and down basketball, high-flying passes and shots from 40 feet out, crowds going crazy watching these elite athletes play a game they love to play for the love of it, and not for the money of it.

From these high-energy events, one can almost sense a growing excitement among fans in seeing more of this style of basketball, instead of what appears to be a slower, stodgier version played in David Stern’s league. The NBA won’t be put out of business by these free-wheeling stars, showing off their street skills but, fans may begin to lead with their wallets when it comes to their preferences of styles.

If this strike goes on for several more months, can’t you see the next biggest event in United States basketball history taking place that will really change the face of the game? What’s that, you ask? Another Michael Jordan, appearing out of nowhere, from one of the streetball teams? No, much bigger than that.

How far behind can a television contract be to show these games to the masses, all over the country in living color? Now, that would create a market for these games that would turn the NBA on its ear.

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