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NBL won’t lose star power: Coten

Basketball Australia chair Ned Coten believes the National Basketball League will prosper once again in 2020-21, despite fears for the sport in Australia amidst the coronavirus crisis.

A recent agreement between the league and the Australian Basketball Players Association (ABPA) saw star players lose up to 50% of their salary for season 2020-21, and each franchise now only allowed two imports for the season rather than three, sparking fears the competition could lose some of it’s star players.

“I don’t think losing players is really an issue,” Coten told Sports Drive on Friday.

“Certainly everybody would be looking at their options, but everyone is in the same boat here, it’s not like those athletes can go and play in other leagues or competitions around the world or even in other sporting codes in Australia, those opportunities simply don’t exist at the moment.”

Coten believes the current climate may actually create further opportunities to join the competition.

“Our two elite competitions the NBL and WNBL are recognised globally as two of the best leagues in the world,” he said.

“I think the athletes enjoy playing in them, certainly the feedback I get are the conditions are excellent, they get to play against wonderful players and they’re improving their skills. Australia is a great country and great place to live, overseas athletes really enjoy coming here.

“It may actually have the opposite effect whereby athletes from overseas see Australia as a safe nation.”

Basketball Australia announced a COVID-19 taskforce on Friday, to combat the impact of the virus on the sport.

Coten will head the taskforce alongside NBL Executive Chairman Larry Kestleman, along with other prominent members of the basketball and business community.

Coted said the immediate focus of the taskforce was at grassroots level, with state competitions currently suspended around the country.

“If the grassroots of the game don’t come out of this well, then the whole sport is going to suffer,” he said.

“We know most of the basketball stadiums have been closed, revenue has gone to basically zero for those organisations. What we want to ensure is that they are able to come out of this effectively.”

The taskforce will consult with all areas of the sport to develop the recovery program for Australian basketball.

IMAGE: Game Plan marketing.


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