Writer on Hubpages and Harvard School of Public Health Alumni
Team USA's loss to Nigeria could represent something larger in the sport of basketball.
This weekend team USA basketball was stunned in an upsetting loss by Nigeria’s national basketball team.
This loss has sparked a conversation by analysts about the current state of the NBA. It was well known that many NBA players would be skipping the Olympics this summer, however, team USA still featured talents like Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard, and Bradley Beal.
Nigeria’s roster consists of a majority of players that play outside of the NBA played some of the basketball the olympics has seen in a while. However, the country has been consistently unrated for the quality of basketball it has to offer.
To me this game is emblematic of something larger that is happening in basketball. This is the possibility that as basketball grows in popularity in Africa the continent may soon feature better basketball talent than the United States. In the future basketball players might be able to make enough money to stay playing basketball in Africa and be able to forgo the NBA draft.
The NBA is potentially facing the reality that the face of Nike may one day be a player playing basketball on the African continent and not in the NBA.
What happens when 1.2 Billion people in Africa start watching basketball being played on their own continent and not the NBA? What happens when they start financially supporting the sport?
Most people in the sport still don't want the answers to these questions. For many years, the NBA has been regarded as the league in which basketball players can earn the most money for their abilities. However, this may change a s a result of globalization and corporations willingness to sponsor international athletes.
The country of Nigeria has a population of roughly 200 million people and the country by itself may soon have a stronger pool of basketball talent than even the NBA. And Nigeria is one African country. Many other countries may soon build formidable basketball leagues. And together the African continent may have more basketball talent than the USA has today.
When Michael Jordan was asked at the Q & A session in Santa Barbara at his 20th Annual Basketball Camp: Michael Jordan Flight School what player would he pick, if he could pick any player of all-time to be on the Hornets he would select Hakeem Olajuwon.
Obviously there are many great players Jordan never compete against or play with while in the NBA. And Jordan from past interviews really demonstrates that he values defense as well. However, this misses a larger point. What if a player of Hakeem's greatness and marketability decided to remain overseas? This might be enough to help the sport of basketball in smaller markets overseas. If this occurs, Nigeria may one day be the leading country for basketball.
Meanwhile the NBA remains in chaos with players acting more and more like divas. A feature that has made the NBA great was that the best team usually won the championship. However, many fans are regarding the 2021 finals as the worst NBA finals in memory. The NBA finals feature two teams arguably not ranked among the top ten in the league. In the past the winner of the NBA championship was good enough team to medal in olympic basketball.
To make matters worse, load management and a shorter season have not reduced player injuries.This coupled with ESPN drama has made the NBA finals an embarrassment.The loss of Team USA also exemplifies how bad the NBA has gotten and what they are allowing players to get away with.
Fans should be excited to what basketball develop in Nigeria. However, the NBA might have a real challenge if basketball takes off on the African continent .
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Michael Mannen