The NBA announced that Mexican professional club Capitanes will join the NBA G League in 2020-21. Commissioner Adam Silver: “I think it’s an important signal to the market just how important we view the entire country of Mexico and all of Latin America”.
- Llamas, Silver and several key figures from both sides want to strengthen Mexico’s ability to produce, and not just receive, NBA talent. As revolutionary as the G League announcement is, they recognize the native talent must be recognized and treasured long before the professional playing age.
- “We are looking for talent, that’s for sure,” said NBA Mexico VP and Managing Director Raul Zarraga. “This G League team is part of this basketball ecosystem that we are building around the nation. Now we are creating an alternative for them so in the future they can see themselves living basketball and perhaps playing in the NBA.”
- The league stands waiting and ready for Mexico’s next wave of talent.
Luka Doncic and Ricky Rubio represent the most recognizable Spanish-speaking NBA players in Mexico City this week. They also hail from countries that were not always synonymous with basketball, but that have recently become international powerhouses.
- Doncic helped lead Slovenia to an unexpected 2017 Eurobasket Gold Medal. Rubio’s Spanish national teams boast two Eurobasket golds, two Olympic medals and the 2019 FIBA World Cup gold medal.
- This begets the question: if Slovenia (a country with just one million people) and Spain (overwhelmingly inclined to soccer) can produce golden eras of basketball, why not Mexico?
- “What is our dream? To bring another Mexican to the NBA, of course, very soon,” decalred Capitanes co-owner Gilberto Hernandez.
NBA Academy Latin America will play a vital role in generating that movement. The basketball training program, backed by the NBA and the Mexican government, develops talent from the Caribbean, Mexico, Central American and South America.
- The academy projects to be a destination for top-tier young prospects, similar to many such institutions in Europe that helped develop Doncic and other European talents that moved on to the NBA.
- “This is the next step in this market,” Silver said. “We’re learning we need to be on the ground, we need to be local, we need to get basketballs in the hands of young boys and girls. We need to work particularly with the elite players.”
Dec 13, 2019.