Thu | Nov 26, 2020

NBL start pushed back again

Published:Friday | July 5, 2019 | 12:06 AM
Andre McLean of UWI Running Rebels (left) stays close to Damion Campbell of Pure Playaz, who attempts a pass during the National Basketball League quarter-final game at the National Arena on Sunday, May 20, 2018.
Andre McLean of UWI Running Rebels (left) stays close to Damion Campbell of Pure Playaz, who attempts a pass during the National Basketball League quarter-final game at the National Arena on Sunday, May 20, 2018.

The 2019 National Basketball League (NBL) season, which was to start last month, is now targeting an early October opener.

President of the Jamaica Basketball Association (JaBA) Paulton Gordon told The Gleaner yesterday that the decision was a result of two key factors, one being the delay in the refurbishing of the courts at the National Stadium, which have been designated for use in the league.

“There were some issues ... . They had to redo some sections of it (the courts), and they are in the process of trying to complete that outdoor court. So that was one of the factors that led to us making some adjustments in terms of the timeline,” Gordon said.

In addition to the National Stadium courts delay, the commencement of the Southern Conference Tournament, which is currently under way, also played a part in the decision.

“The Southern Conference wanted to do their competition before we have the NBL. They are in the middle of their competition, which ends sometime in August. So we are looking at starting the NBL late September, early October,” Gordon said.

SECURING SPONSORSHIP

Gordon Porter, team manager of the Urban Knights, who play in the Southern Conference, acknowledged the reasoning behind pushing the start of the league back, citing the concern of readiness for the demands of the competition as expressed by the clubs.

“We felt that most clubs would need at least three months or so to basically get their act together – to get sponsors on board, to get players in some kind of physical and mental condition, and even to allow the association itself to put in place things that needed to be put in place,” Porter said.

The NBL, which made a return last year without a sponsor, has been seeking sponsorship for the 2019 season. Gordon, in an interview in April, said that his administration had managed to secure sponsorship to run the competition but was actively seeking additional partners to come on board.

“We have secured some resources to start the NBL, but we are actively looking and trying to partner with additional companies who may be interested. So we have our marketing team looking at that,” Gordon said.

FACTORY PRODUCT

To that end, Gordon has been in communication with the teams to establish the “look and feel” of the league and has been in discussion with the newly created NBL organisation committee, which he is optimistic will produce a structured roll-out of the league.

With the time extended to ensure a proper launch, Porter does not understate the importance of the NBL to the continued development of basketball in Jamaica.

“Based on what we have seen happen over the past couple of years, it’s obvious that the NBL serves a very important role ... . The NBL is seen as the factory product, the factory brand for basketball in terms of competition.”

– Daniel Wheeler