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Mark Tatum highlights NBA’s commitment to grow the game with world basketball family

October 04, 2018

Mark Tatum highlights NBA’s commitment to grow the game with world basketball family


XI'AN (FIBA World Basketball Summit) - If basketball is going to reach new heights and become the most popular sport in the world, then all of the game's stakeholders must put their nose to the grindstone.

They must have the single-mindedness to work hard.

Mark Tatum, the NBA's deputy commissioner, reminded everyone of that during the FIBA World Basketball Summit in China last week.

“OUR GOAL IS TO PROMOTE THE GAME OF BASKETBALL, MAKE BASKETBALL THE MOST POPULAR SPORT IN THE WORLD, WORKING TOGETHER AS A BASKETBALL FAMILY, WORKING ACROSS STAKEHOLDERS, BRINGING IN THE RIGHT PARTNERS, FEDERATIONS, LEAGUES, ALL TO GROW THE GAME OF BASKETBALL. OUR PARTNERS AT FIBA HAVE BROUGHT US IN.”- NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum

"There is no substitute for hard work," he said, when asked about the key factors that have contributed to the continued growth of the NBA.

There is also something else that is crucial. Basketball's stakeholders need to be passionate in their approach.

"Having excitement," he said, "having engagement, being very passionate about your product. You have to be passionate about what you're doing. You have to have that vision. You have to have a plan to execute."


Tatum and the NBA are just like FIBA in their desire to push the game forward.

"Our goal is to promote the game of basketball, make basketball the most popular sport in the world," Tatum said, "working together as a basketball family, working across stakeholders, bringing in the right partners, federations, leagues, all to grow the game of basketball. Our partners at FIBA have brought us in.

"Literally all over the world, we (NBA) are forming partnerships to grow the game of basketball whether that's at grassroots level or elite level."

“YOU HAVE TO BE PASSIONATE ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE DOING. YOU HAVE TO HAVE THAT VISION. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PLAN TO EXECUTE.”- Tatum

One reason why the NBA has been so popular overseas for almost three decades has been the influx of players from other countries. Many, who have been leading players in their national teams like Argentina's Manu Ginobili, Spain's Pau Gasol, Russia's Andrei Kirilenko and France's Tony Parker, just to name four, have been stars in the league.

Tatum recalled how Parker was enamored with the play of Michael Jordan, who competed for the USA Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics when Parker was 10, and that seeing him represent his country contributed to his desire to become a top-flight basketball player.

"Tony Parker who was growing up a young boy in France at the time," Tatum said while being interviewed on stage at the Summit. "He was so inspired by Michael Jordan that he decided to play basketball, to bounce the ball and not kick the ball.

"Tony probably could have grown up to play professional football, or soccer, but he was inspired by Michael. And the reason why he wears No. 9, that was Michael Jordan's number on the USA basketball team (1992 Olympic Dream Team). Tony was inspired by that, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, that depth of talent (in the Dream Team). It caused them to fall in love with the game of basketball."

Tatum also recognized the significant impact ex-NBA players, all former national team players, are having off the court by working with their federations or Olympic committees.

"So many are former NBA players and going back to run their federations," Tatum said, "whether it's Yao or (Russia's) Andre (Kirilenko), (Serbia's) Vlade (Divac), so we're seeing those players come into our league, inspiring other generations of international players, but then also going back and having significant contributions to growing the game in their respective countries."

Mark Tatum (NBA's deputy commissioner) highlights @NBA’s commitment to grow the game with world #basketball family: https://t.co/vneO5uvVU0@FIBA #WorldBasketballSummit pic.twitter.com/7a8PZtWBJ9