Adam Silver Rumors
And finally, it appears more top recruits don’t care about where they go to college and are just biding their time until draft night. This may be most concerning to the NBA because it impacts the league directly. “What’s really interesting to me is the last two No. 1 picks in the NBA draft, Ben Simmons two years ago and Markelle Fultz last year, both played with teams that did not make the NCAA tournament [LSU and Washington, respectively],” Silver said. “And I don’t think enough people are talking about that. That seems to be a sea change. “It’s become common knowledge that these so-called one-and-done players, maybe understandably, are almost entirely focused on where they are going to go in the draft lottery. Not to say they don’t badly care about winning but … the stakes are so high in terms of the amount of money they can make over a long NBA career.”
The NBA commissioner isn’t worried. Silver believes great teams are good for business, the way Jordan’s Bulls were in the 1990s and the way Stephen Curry’s and LeBron James’ teams are now. The commissioner says any of them can be beaten, too. “Sometimes it’s just the nature of things, but I’m confident that given some of the moves that our teams made in the offseason that there’s no doubt there are multiple teams gunning for the Warriors and for that matter gunning for the Cavaliers this season as well,” Silver said.
“He’s obviously frustrated that his team isn’t being talked about as a potential champion this season and I think it’s just that. He’d love to win and he’s frustrated,” Silver said. “Having said that, Michael also happens to be the chairman of our Labor Relations Committee and nobody is suggesting we have the perfect system here or that over time we can’t make it better. And that’s something we’ll continue to look at.”
Adam Silver was asked about Jordan’s comments on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” on Monday. Silver, well aware of the competitiveness that exists within Jordan, said it made him chuckle. After all, this might be the most competitive basketball player ever saying this in a year where his team isn’t being picked to win the championship. “I chuckled a little bit because this notion that maybe the most competitive athlete in the history all of sports is frustrated a little bit that his team isn’t predicted to win the championship this year. So I take it with a bit of a grain of salt. And also here’s a guy who in his last six full seasons as a Chicago Bull won the championship. So at the time, of course, everyone defined that Bulls team as a super team.”
The tone that Yao set, and continues to help mold in his role as the head of the CBL, has only grown since Thibodeau started making the trek back and forth to China. The popularity of the game has increased even more within the country, as evidenced by the reception the Golden State Warriors received during their weeklong visit through Shenzhen and Shanghai during the NBA’s Global Games against the Timberwolves last week. Warriors players were greeted by throngs of screaming fans any time they would leave their hotel. Young fans chased after NBA commissioner Adam Silver in search of a picture or an autograph as he shuffled his way through Shanghai toward another meeting, in search of a picture or an autograph. Basketball is the No. 1 team sport in China, with 300 million people playing the game, according to Yao’s CBA.
“I think it’s very meaningful for us to play games here, even though it’s a very small part of our business,” Silver said. “Increasingly this is a media business, and no different than in the United States, where only a very small portion of our fans ever get to step foot in an NBA arena and see NBA players and a game in person. But at the same time, I think being here, as our teams have been in the country for essentially a week, it’s an opportunity not just to play two games but to work on NBA Cares projects, to work throughout the communities, to participate in clinics.” “It also gives our players a much better sense of what China is all about. They also, in addition to their basketball activities, get to see the sights. They walk on the streets and eat in the restaurants and shop. For such an important market for the NBA, it really gives our players and our teams a much better feel of this country. While the main growth in the business is going to come through media, I still think it’s very important that we have a presence here and that we continue to play games every season.”
The NBA knows it’s not ideal to fly two of its teams thousands of miles away in the middle of training camp, but there’s a reason Silver was steadfast in saying that the league would continue bringing games back to China when the opportunity arises. There’s a lot of money to be made when a league can carve out a niche within an audience of 1.3 billion. With the NBA riding the high that comes with record-setting television deals with ESPN and Turner in the U.S., it’s banking on the assumption that more growth within China will have an even larger impact on the bottom line over time. That’s why the league opened three NBA Academies in the country last year and is on track to open its first NBA Basketball School there in 2019. Asian media power Tencent, who has a partnership with ESPN, launched NBA League Pass in China for the first time last season.