Although stars like Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, Derek Jeter, and Sindey Crosby are in their respective sports for more than a decade, the average career for professional athletes is actually kind of short. The NBA’s average career is only five years, and that isn’t very long. Good news could be on the horizon, though.
The U.S. Pro Athlete Enterprises is an organization that focuses on retired athletes, and gives them roles in sports. It looks like they could be taking the roles to the court as well:
With the launch of the U.S. Pro Athlete Enterprises, CEO Carl George thinks he has a viable solution.
The USPA, a sports and marketing business built around ex-athletes from the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB, is an opportunity for now-retired athletes to continue their involvement in the sports world in different, unique ways. Its goal, as George said, is “to extend the careers of professional athletes.”
One particular method of doing this is the USPA Extension Basketball League, which is set to launch in the summer of 2014. The league will be home to former NBA players who are one to four years removed from the sport, and will give those players a chance to not only keep doing what they love, but stay connected with fans, the community, and increase their own profile in the process.
This actually sounds like a great idea. The league would play their games in the summer, so you wouldn’t have to choose between the NBA and the new league for retired players. This could also be used as a showcase for guys who want to prove they still have something left to give to a team. Former Knick John Starks will be a coach, and he could add some star power to this league:
“I know how hard it is to transition from player to everyday life, ” said Starks, who played in the NBA for 14 year. “You’ve been playing basketball your whole life, you’re not thinking about business after the game is done. This was an opportunity for players to be in front of people and gain some valuable knowledge from a business standpoint.”
Not only should Starks’ presence draw the fans in the New York area, it’ll also allow him to get closer to the game and the players again. Starks currently works as alumni relations and fan development advisor with the Knicks front office, so he has been able to successfully navigate the business world after sports, and can pass along some of those lessons.
As for where they play? This league could be good news for fans who may not live in or near an NBA city:
They will play 14 games in July and August, seven home and seven away, with a championship tournament in September. The markets are New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Miami, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Francisco. George says he expects 5,000-6,000 fans at a home game in a city like New York, which will play its games at locations such as St. John’s and Rutgers.
The teams will also travel to play exhibition games in cities that don’t get the luxury of having an NBA team to root for. Little Rock, Arkansas, will get a chance to interact with former players through various exhibition games as well as charity appearances.
To me, this seems like a win for everyone. It will most likely do good, and tickets only cost 25 dollars to attend. We will see guys who love the game, and still want to show they can play. I can’t wait to see how it does next summer.