Globalization of The NBA: Modern Progress Or An Outsourcing Of Talent?

By JaCina Stanton
Updated: February 26, 2005

WASHINGTON,D.C.–Picture this, the NBA, year 2015…Now introducing your starting lineup… Mikhail Nakaranova, Ty Ming, Vladmir Tchaichovsky, Anton Patrillo, and Carlos Delgado ….. live from Venice Italy???????????

Although this may seem far-fetched, due to the new infusion of international players in the league, this may become a reality. The San Antonio Spurs starting five largely resembles this type of line-up already.

For the second year straight, Yao Ming has received the most votes in the All-Star Game, largely due to citizens from his native China voting in astonishing numbers. The NBA presently has fifty three international players, and expects that number to grow exponentially over the next few years. David Stern, the NBA commissioner has recently expressed sentiments of expanding the league into Europe. How would this work? Would the L.A. Lakers fly to Italy or France and then come back and play the Nuggets? Or would they have a European leg tour in the season for each of the teams where they pre-plan certain times to fly overseas? Either way globalization of the NBA does not come without problems.

Although we are living in an increasingly close-nit world and many countries outside the United States have begun to excel in basketball, is this necessarily a good thing? With the increase of foreign nationals to the league, where does this leave the little boys and girls practicing on the playground to become the next Jordan or Shaq? Americans have become increasingly aware that we are not dominant in international basketball either. In 1992, unhappy with the how Team USA was faring internationally, the U.S. assembled the “Dream Team” which led to a few years of dominance. In the 2004 Olympics the United States earned a bronze medal, while in 2000, they placed an unimpressive sixth.

Does this mean that Brazilians, French and Chinese basketball players will soon be the standard that the young black male now is in the NBA. I would not go that far quite yet. Young black athletes remain some of the most talented basketball players in the world. Their ability to improvise, innovate and entertain is unmatched. However, how long will this continue? No international players were involved in this year’s brawl. Most of the NBA players that have been in trouble with the law did not speak in accented English. Above all U.S. players should remember that basketball is a team sport and selfishness and illegal activities, sadly tarnishes the image of not only individuals, but of the entire group. I am not by any means advocating that the U.S. should stop the flow of international players in the league or that the league has not benefited from diversity. I simply suggest current ball players should adjust their playing style to more team-focused play. Diversifying the only league in sports, which is more than 80 percent, African American would happen sooner, more than later, and the NBA has gone overseas to seek their talent.

The United States has been increasingly outsourcing jobs for the past ten years, hopefully basketball won’t be next major area.