Representation Matters: NPR, ESPN Talk NBA
ESPN’s 30 for 30 newest feature is about Dominican player, Felipe Lopez, who played in league from 1998 to 2002. His impact on the game was undeniable. Since that time, professional sports has experienced a surge in Latinx basketball fans, and the NBA simply hasn’t kept up. Even with the expansion to international markets, which helped increase the brand’s prowess overseas, the lack of representation has been abysmal.
The NBA wants to turn that around. The announcement of Gersson Rosas as the newly hired president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves was a huge milestone. Players like Carmelo Anthony have maintained a wide appeal, and the longevity and championship success of Manu Ginobili are seen as beacons for attracting younger talent.
In the segment below, NPR’s All Things Considered reports, less than 2% of NBA players are Latino. They discuss some of the behind-the-scenes effort that is being made to cultivate this talent in places like Mexico City. But the league has a long way to go. Beyond the marketing of “Noches éne-bé-a,” they will need to take a page from Major League Baseball if they are to have a shot.