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Friday, June 24, 2011

Unremarkable, Uninspiring NBA Draft Bodes Well for MLS

The 2011 NBA Draft will be remembered as a sluggish event with unrecognizable athletes being celebrated and then ushered into a league headed towards a lockout.  This draft was filled with fanfare, but not anybody worthy of it.

Was this the beginning of something bigger and scarier for the NBA?  Is it possible, a new trend is coming to the NBA, bringing less quality players and lesser known names year after year?  If so, the NBA could be in some trouble.

Owners won't be dumb enough to overpay all these unknowns and unprovens as in passed years when they overpaid for marginal, yet more proven players than this crop.  Something will have to give when it comes to inflated salaries. 

There appears to be a leveling off as the economy has tightened up and each player's worth is looked at through a higher lens microscope.  Many players will look to jump ship to China as that country's basketball league continues to develop and owners there have deeper pockets than some of the owners here in the U.S.

There may come a time very soon when the NBA is no longer considered the world's best basketball league.  If this happens, the NBA will have a lot more in common with MLS, as both would be promoting their leagues to fans who know other leagues around the world exist with better players and more highly entertaining play. 

What this Draft proves is that it may be harder to create star power in the future and the NBA is run on star power.  For the average sports fan, hardly any of the draftees are inspiring.

If the NBA is peaking and headed for a reality check, then fans will find inspiration elsewhere.  This is when MLS can be there for them.  Soccer has not turned the corner on mainstream, but if it converted enough NBA fans, more corners will be turned and scored on.

MLS executives must be ready for anything at this point because the 'big 4' team sports are each struggling mightily in ways they haven't struggled for in 40 years.  Marketing to convert apathetic U.S. sports fans will be key to the future mainstream success of MLS.

U.S. sports fans are getting to know more and more Soccer all the time.  It is getting harder and harder to ignore the passions of the fans and the amount of fans attending MLS games and Gold Cup games.  Also, certain demographics of U.S. sports fans are becoming more and more confused about their allegiances and priorities to the 'big four.'  Yesterday's NBA Draft was one more example to add to the confusion.

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