Sources: NBA's Seventh Academy Will Be In Mexico City, With Eye Toward G League Club
The NBA "will announce a new basketball development and training academy in Mexico City during the Global Games" on Dec. 7 and 9, according to sources cited by Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com. The announcement will be made "in conjunction with CONADE (Mexico's National Commission for Physical Culture and Sport) and the Mexican Basketball Federation." The NBA has "long discussed the idea of having a franchise based in Mexico City." Sources said that the "league-funded academy in Mexico City could be the first step toward realizing that goal." The NBA "currently has six academies: three in China (Jinan, Urumqi and Hangzhou), one in Thies, Senegal, one in Delhi, India, and a Global Academy serving as the hub for elite prospects, in Canberra, Australia." Sources said that a seventh academy in Mexico City, which would be called the NBA Academy Latin America, "will initially be utilized as a location for male and female prospects from Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean, starting early next year." The sources added that Mexico City eventually "could emerge as the 31st G League franchise, where prospects from the seven academies graduate up to." Those players "would have an opportunity to play competitive games against pro competition, which should accelerate their development." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said that Mexico "needs home-grown NBA players to make it a viable franchise candidate" (ESPN.com, 11/22).
HOMELAND SECURITY: In Boston, Ben Volin wrote the Patriots-Raiders game in Mexico City on Nov. 19 "appeared to be a rousing success." The locals were "fired up for the game" and the logistics "all worked out pretty well." Everything "seemed to go off without a hitch" as Mexico "embraced the NFL." However, Estadio Azteca "doesn’t have the luxury suites needed to generate significant income" and the venue "doesn’t have a suitable press box." The Wi-Fi also "didn’t work for most of the game." Volin: "For a big event, it felt a bit small time." Multiple NFL games or a franchise in Mexico City is "still a long ways off" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/26). In San Diego, Nick Canepa wrote "real home games should be played at home." Canepa: "I can’t see traveling the world for 'home games.' And I don’t believe it’s doing one bit of good to either spread good will or make entire soccer-loving nations more enamored with our sports." The NFL "views these overseas games as overwhelming successes, and they probably are -- monetarily," as owners are "fully compensated for losing home-game dough" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/26). In S.F., Scott Ostler wrote there is a "solution to the NFL insanity of forcing playoff-contending teams to play 'home' games in Mexico City and London: Designate this season’s 10 worst teams as next season’s Globetrotters" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/26).