NBA at 75: Adam Silver says games can ‘change the world’

NEW YORK (AP) – (EDITOR’S NOTE: The season-long celebration of the NBA’s 75th anniversary is coming to an end. As part of the Associated Press series on the NBA’s first 75 years, Commissioner Adam Silver wrote this essay on what the league could look like. 25 years from now, when it celebrates its 100th anniversary.)

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What will the NBA look like at 100? While it’s hard to predict the future one year from now, let alone 25, I know what will remain unchanged: Our basic principle that “sport has the power to change the world.”

Our teams and players will continue to use the game of basketball to teach lifelong values, give back to our communities, and raise awareness of critically important community issues.

We will also continue to embrace being a global league. Our games are distributed in more than 200 countries and territories, our social media community exceeds 2 billion people, and 25% of the players in our league grew up outside the United States. The NBA’s reach is expansive, even though in many ways we’re just scratching the surface in terms of our international growth.

I expect live sports and entertainment to remain special. There is something truly remarkable about 20,000 people from diverse backgrounds gathering in an arena to enjoy a shared experience. What makes NBA games unique – the closeness to the players, the fast – paced nature of the game and the energy of being around other people – will be just as crucial in 25 years’ time as it is today.

What I predict will change is how fans around the world engage in the NBA. Today’s fans can watch NBA basketball on their high-definition television or just as easily on their smartphones. But in 25 years, this notion of watching games on a “screen” may be irrelevant. Games will appear in any size – three-dimensional – whether it is on the living room floor or in a ballroom. Watching basketball anywhere could feel like you’re in an arena surrounded by thousands of other fans.

The game on the field will also evolve as a whole new group of players builds on the greatness of the generations that came before them. We can see different kinds of program formats and tournaments that create new league traditions. And maybe when the flight gets faster, we will have franchises outside of North America.

And if we are more popular on our 100th anniversary than we are todayI know we will have stayed true to our mission of inspiring and connecting people everywhere through the game of basketball.

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Adam Silver is the commissioner of the National Basketball Association.

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More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports. Follow the AP’s coverage of the NBA’s 75th anniversary season: https://apnews.com/hub/nba-at-75

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