NBA Hall-of-Fame player Magic Johnson believes that bringing NBA personnel to Ireland is the best way to grow the sport of basketball here.
You can listen to Magic and Jeff using our audio player below:[audio:http://thecourtsidecollective.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/MagicAndJeffOnIreland.mp3]
Speaking as part of an ESPN conference call , the three-time NBA Most-Valuable-Player said it was crucial to take “NBA coaches and ex‑players and current players and current coaches over there and expose the young people.”
Magic suggested that NBA exposure will draw young people to the game, boosting its profile in Ireland. “When the young people are hungry for it, then it explodes in a country because they want more of it.”
Praising programmes such as NBA Cares, the former Laker stressed the importance of hosting camps and clinics. “I think just continue to have those clinics and those camps, continue to have players come over and sign autographs, that would be big, and also continue to have teams come over.”
Jeff Van Gundy, the former New York Knicks coach and current ESPN analyst also gave his opinion on Ireland’s basketball development. He suggested a more practical approach of how we could use the Irish tourism sector to help draw NBA players, coaches and officials to the country.
“NBA coaches and players, love golf, and you guys have some of the best golf, if somehow you could in the off season tie golf trips into basketball clinics and some historical sites, I mean, I just think you have a wonderful opportunity to get NBA people over there because of some of the greatness of your country, what it has to offer.”
Van Gundy recognised the strong foothold that sports like soccer and the GAA can have in small countries, but also said basketball has a niche among young people due to the fast pace of the game.
He sees potential in the country to develop and potentially become a major sport in Ireland. “I’m hopeful that your country gets to touch some of the NBA personnel players and coaches, because it would be a really wonderful opportunity for your youth.”
Anyone interested in helping launch an Irish / NBA Pro-am? Then get in touch with TCC as soon as possible!