DEBATE: Should we welcome NBA stars as NBL club owners?
BIG NBA CASH INJECTION LEADS TO NEGLECT
IT IS no secret that NBA players like to feed into the growth of the game around the world but is their ownership really a good thing for our already struggling clubs?
So they do bring an injection of cash into the league and help raise the profile of the game in Australia, but aside from that I think it’s doing more harm than good.
NBA players are some of the highest paid athletes in the world and it is partly due to their insane schedule.
82 games over the course of the regular season and with pre-season, post-season and even international duties on top of that, how would they ever get time to monitor the state of the game on the other side of the world?
The latest basketball star to be linked with buying a team is LaMelo Ball, who left the Illawarra Hawks mid-season to prepare for the NBA draft and while he may have the intention of saving his former team from financial despair, what can he add to the table aside from some cash?
The NBL is certainly gaining momentum in Australia and I hope it can continue to grow but I think the formula that has had the most success is when a local stakeholder invests in a club with a long-term view for success.
The Sydney Kings, owned by Total Sport and Entertainment, are well on the way up while other clubs owned by NBA stars are struggling.
Another homegrown entrepreneur to single-handedly revive the NBL is Andrew Kestelman, and I believe we need more owners like him instead of these ‘big spenders’.
FOREIGN INTEREST GOOD FOR OUR NBL
I DON’T think anyone is getting super-rich running an Australian basketball team these days.
While the sport has had a mini-resurgence of late, it’s not exactly in the top tier of our sports.
It might be enough to keep the owner in a comfortable lifestyle, but nothing of the sort of money the American counterparts would get, where the NBA is close to a religion.
So when reports come out of part-time NBL player and future NBA draft star Lamar Ball about buying the Illawarra Hawks, it is part investment, and part thankyou for him.
The NBL has done a great job in presenting itself as a place for future NBA players to learn their craft with a professional team, and Lamar’s short time here already has shown signs of improving his mettle, of which he’ll need all of it when he hits the big time.
For someone of his current and future worth, owning an Australian team is akin to pocket change, with one eye on directing any future talent back in his own direction.
All he needs is a good general manager, and it sures up the league for the future.
There’s plenty of other examples. Dante Exum is part of an investment group that owns part of an expansion team, and semi-retired Andrew Bogut has options to buy into the Sydney franchise when he decides to hang up the boots. Even superstar Kevin Durant had a long long at buying into the Bullets.
It’s all upside, and the more it happens, the stronger the game will be here.