Been a while since I posted. Thought this would be a great topic to use to make a comeback !
There was a lot of discussion about player movement this off-season. Although the Mavs didn’t get every player we wanted, we got most of them and I’m thrilled that we added Seth, Delon and Boban in Free Agency. We will be a much better team in a conference and league that will be wide open this year.
Back to the topic of this post – What Makes the NBA Special ?
The answer is short and to the point: The NBA is a talent driven league.
Look at your favorite teams in every other sport. If your favorite NFL team lined up all 53 players in front of you, how many could you name by sight ? If your favorite MLB or NHL team lined up their entire rosters in front of you, how many could you name by sight ? If you saw a list of players, how many of the names would you be able to recognize ?
Now think of the roster of your favorite NBA team. You may not know them all by sight, but there is a very good chance you will know all the names on the opening night roster and if you happen to see one at the grocery store, there is a great chance you will recognize them and say hi.
That’s what makes the NBA different from the other professional sports in this country. The NFL is about the NFL, it is a league driven sport. Baseball and hockey are a mix of being league and talent driven. There are stars in both that are recognized locally, but have minimal recognition nationally.
The NBA is a talent driven league. NBA stars are not just recognizable locally, they are recognized globally.
They are recognized not just because of who they are on the court, but they are also stars off the court.
The NBA more than any other league has been the beneficiary of social media. Our players have been smart enough to not only recognize the value of having a large presence on Social Media, but the value of being influencers and using the influence to become incredible marketers, business-people and most importantly, impactful in their communities and in social conversations nationally.
Which brings us back to Free Agency. Some feel that the player movement we have seen, particularly players asking to be traded or leaving teams that have the ability to pay them more money is a problem. I don’t. I think it is exactly what we should expect and it reflects what is happening in the job market across industries in our country.
No longer do college students graduate in search of a career where they expect to spend their entire adult lives working for a single company. Just the thought is crazy. I tell college graduates to look for a job where they get to learn about themselves, the business world, adulting and what they love to do and can be good at it. That their first job is just that, their first job. There will be many more.
This reality has changed what it is like to be an employer. In the past the default was that the best employees would want a long career with their employers, because that is what you did. You kept your job as long as you could . No longer. Now the onus is on employers to keep their best employees happy.
Your best of the best will be impactful not only within the company, but via social media and other online platforms, visible as the best in their industry. It is important to give them reasons to want to stay. Great employees are effectively always free agents with the ability to move anywhere.
Why should it be any different for the NBA ?
Mobility is the power that comes with being great at your job, whether its in the NBA or any other industry. If you are one of the best, you will have the ability to decide where you want to work
NBA teams are going to have to work harder than we ever have to give our players a reason to want to stay with their teams. For some players the best choice will be to stay with one team their entire careers. For others, they will choose to move. Some that move will sign short-term deals, other longer. Each player will do what they think is best
This may not make everyone happy, and of course there is always room for improvement, no system is perfect, but I think there are net benefits to the NBA.
Movement made and broke a super team. It took us from having one team with arguably 4 superstars to no team with obviously more than 2. It took us from 2 teams that are big national ticket sales and TV draws to arguably 4 and possibly more.
Most importantly, the global impact of our players keeps interest in the NBA fresh and renewed with every season. The NBA is exciting because our players are exciting.
Nothing wrong with that.