SBD/Issue 216/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Stern Pushes Concept Of NBA-Backed Hoops Academy

Stern Says NBA Plans To Double
Chinese Operations In Next Two Years

NBA Commissioner David Stern “wants the NBA to begin a youth academy to help nurture athletes on the court and in the classroom,” resembling a European system where players “attend a school and a basketball academy wrapped into one,” according to Pete Thamel of the N.Y. TIMES. Stern cited reports of top prospects “padding their grades at fraudulent high schools to earn college scholarships,” as well as “stories of sneaker companies trying to lure junior high school players to their teams and of overseas agents peddling foreign players to the United States for personal profit.” Stern: “I think we could do a better job of rounding and grounding those kids so the adjustment to a professional life is a happy one. I’m serious about attempting to improve the overall situation.” Stern added that he is “open to the possibility of running an academy with USA Basketball.” He said that he “hoped to work with the NCAA but was not sure if the complicated rules governing college athletics would allow players to remain eligible for their universities if they were to go through an NBA-sponsored program.” NCAA Dir of Membership Services Brad Hostetter said that the organization “would be willing to work with the NBA to ensure that an academy abided by amateur standards.” Thamel notes reps from high school, college, traveling teams and the NBA “are expected to meet this fall to discuss reform” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/7).

FINE CHINA: Stern during a visit to China over the weekend said the league “plans to double the size of its China operations over the next two years to help keep pace with rapid growth in demand for its products in the country.” Stern said that sales of NBA-branded products and broadcast rights in China “have been growing at 30% a year.” The league currently has three offices in China with about 50 staffers, and Stern said, “My guess is we’ll double it in size by the [’08] Beijing Olympics” (AP, 8/7).

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