Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Ball players hit the headlines- but for how long?

As a follow-up to the previous story about British basketball, it is heartening to see the mainstream media being seduced into writing basketball stories on the back of English players' participation in the 2009 NBA Live game and 4 Nations tournament in London this year.

Chicago Bulls star and injury-prone Luol Deng has garnered much of the media attention, though Brit-born Ben Gordon has had the benefit of serious game time in the NBA finals series to boost his profile.

Promoters for NBA Live and 4 Nations need to work out how to steal a sports page from the Sun, Mirror and Daily Mail on a regular basis in an effort to bring basketball into the public consciousness before these major events at the O2. While they are sure to be well-attended – ticket sales for the lower priced seats seem to pick up after each story – the longer-lasting benefits may be lost unless PR and marketing teams work on the ever present problem of grassroots participation.

As mentioned in a previous post, basketball courts around the country are lying dormant or solely used, with either permanent or improved goals at each end, for football. As a local example, I practice at an outdoor court in south London at least once a week and for the first time in six months, found basketball players using it over the weekend. The weather's obviously a factor but it appears people generally aren't learning a love for the game at an early age.

On a disappointing sidenote, the one publication to regularly feature a wide range of sports ended its print run last month.
Opinions are divided on whether Sport rightly earned its title as the UK’s best sport magazine, but in my short experience it featured top-notch writing, interesting picture stories and a determination not to fill its pages solely with football stars, WAGS or poor-performing cricketers.

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