Tonight is the final night of NBA Commissioner’s David Stern’s 30-year term, as Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver moves into the main role at midnight on February 1.
Stern came into the league at a time when the league had poor TV distribution, the NBA Finals on in tape delay, & a major drug problem in the 80s. When the 90’s came, Stern turned the league into a global phenomenon with stars coming into the league such as Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant & others taking the league on their shoulders & making it a true international game that people of any size, shape or stature can play.
The league is now worth billions of dollars after only having $30 million dollars of revenue in 1984 & the average contract is $5.7 million dollars as opposed to $290,000 at that time.
The NBA now goes around the world to play regular season games and now the league is possibly looking to have teams in China, Mexico & parts of Europe.
Lofty standards for the new NBA Commissioner to live up to.
Silver has to be able to live up to the lofty levels that Stern has set for the league, along with the challenges that face the league right now.
As we move forward, the NBA has to continue to stay a global empire, which shouldn’t be too hard of an issue with the popularity of the game, which is possibly #2 in terms of world popularity outside of soccer.
The NBA has to also continue to grow in digital content. With many leagues & organizations coming out with more & more on-demand content everyday, Silver may need to look at how to develop NBA TV into more of a 24-hour network with stronger live programming & even more original series, such as how the NFL Network does throughout the year.
The league hit a home run with the series “Open Court,” which features many of the TNT NBA personalities talking about their lives on & off the court, but the fans want to see more of it and more regular episodes year round.
But quite possibly the biggest area that the league will need to look at is the young players coming into the NBA. Right now, the league requires that players go to college or be out of high school a minimum of one year before a player can enter the NBA Draft, which means many players are going into college basketball, which has made that product much stronger & better to watch.
However, what has happened over time is that players are literally going to school just for basketball, blowing off classes in some cases & are getting assisted through school just so that the university can profit off of that player, the player gets developed & then is ready to go into the NBA – sometimes to become one of the best in the league, sometimes to be a role player, sometimes to be out of the league as quickly as they entered it.
As college athletics continue to move towards the idea of giving players some form of higher compensation for their efforts, the NBA has to make sure that the players are properly ready to enter the league, from an academic as well as an athletic standpoint. If I were Silver, I would implement a 3-year rule similar to what the NFL has, but with a twist.
If a player goes through the pre-draft process & realizes that he won’t be drafted, he must go back to school for 2 more years until his third season.
But those are just some things that Adam Silver will be looking at for the future. The NBA has never been hotter and with top players such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, John Wall & others in the league moving the NBA forward, the NBA should be a force for years to come.
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