The NBA Development League has reportedly prioritized their partnership with Gatorade, and taking effect at the start of the 2017-18 season, the D-League will rebrand their name to the “Gatorade” League.
Gatorade, a longtime partner of the NBA since the mid-1980s, has continued to grow within many other professional brands, NASCAR, is one of them. This of course, will be another way to make the NBA’s D-League even more prominent.
The NBA Development League has not only paved the way for many careers of basketball players, but also their lives.
Some of the most successful players, whether it was for two years, or for two months, were able to have their names called up to the NBA — after performing so well in the D-League. The best stories you could ever want to hear in this sport, have come from along these lines.
Everyone knows about Jeremy Lin’s “Linsanity” breakthrough with the New York Knicks in 2012, and how he went from one of the last players to sit on the Golden State Warriors bench, to the ultimate spark-plug for the Knicks in January 2012.
Another great example was Miami Heat Center Hassan Whiteside, who played for multiple D-League teams — such as the Reno Bighorns and the Sioux Falls Skyforce. After making an imposing return to the NBA, Hassan was granted a five-year, $98 million deal for the Heat last summer. Whiteside is now one of the league’s premier NBA Centers.
If you were to ask for my personal favorite, it was certainly the journey of San Antonio Spurs swingman Jonathon Simmons.
Jonathan rejuvenated his dream to play basketball after paying a registration fee of $150 to try out for the D-League. He ended up making the Austin Spurs, then shortly led the Spurs’ Summer League team to a title. Simmons has come a long way. From working two part-time jobs to feed his children, to now one of the league’s most exciting reserves for an outstanding franchise.
The NBA D-League — or perhaps the “G-League” — will remain as a critical asset for player-growth. We’re beginning to see some successful stories from the NBA, because of how genuine this form of basketball is becoming. And not only do teams send players for devlopment, but they’ve recently started to send players for rehabilitation purposes. And the news just keeps getting better, as the D-League continues their expansion of new teams. The Milwaukee Bucks had recently announced their new affiliate in Oshkosh, the “Fox Valley Bucks.”
Since their establishment in 2001, the NBA G-League has only just begun. This is exciting for the NBA.