NBA X Monocle




Leading the way
NBA events give youngsters access to first-class coaching, just like the pros.


Balancing act
Basketball specialists are on hand to pass on their expertise – and show off their skills.



Leader board
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is far more than a professional sports league. Today it’s known internationally as an advocate for diversity, inclusion and camaraderie, a cultural juggernaut that proves that sport can enhance the way we live. Alongside the game itself, the association has taken its values of community-building, openness, innovation and integrity far and wide. To celebrate its achievements, Monocle is embarking on a series of editorial showcases with the NBA, highlighting its latest initiatives as well as the sport at its heart.

Game changers
The NBA will offer its action-packed brand of sport to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a multi-year tie-up with Abu Dhabi, which centres around annual mega-matches at the Etihad Arena, the Middle East’s largest indoor entertainment venue. In May the NBA announced that it will bring 2021 champions the Milwaukee Bucks and fellow Eastern Conference giants the Atlanta Hawks to the UAE’s sunny capital in October. A huge coup for the region, the move will not only bolster an appreciation of basketball in the UAE but offer residents an opportunity to absorb the NBA’s positive brand values.

Beyond the high-profile games, the NBA is operating at a grass-roots level and establishing a junior league, drawing in children from a diverse range of backgrounds. Teaching them about teamwork, determination, diversity and inclusion on the court, this programme, which has already been a success in other nations, is a fun, effective way for children to learn to better themselves through basketball.



Joining forces
DCT Abu Dhabi director-general, HE Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry (on left) and NBA Europe and Middle East managing director, Ralph Rivera

Tip off
The NBA and Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) announced the team’s participating in the 2022 games at an event at Dubai’s recent Arabian Travel Market. In attendance were a team of street ball entertainers and Atlanta’s mascot, Harry the Hawk.

Team spirit
The pre-season NBA match-ups on 6 and 8 October  at The Etihad Arena will give Abu Dhabi’s visitors and residents opportunities to witness some of the world’s best basketball players in action. Both the Hawks and the Bucks have rosters packed with stars; Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Atlanta’s Trae Young, who led the NBA this year in both points scored and assists made, will be among the key draws.

Kids are alright
Earlier this year, the NBA and Abu Dhabi’s DCT launched the first Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League, which gives 450 boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 14 the chance to develop skills with mentoring from pros. The initiative, with events featuring appearances by former NBA superstars, is expected to expand further in the region.

Global reach
The NBA’s move into Abu Dhabi is just one of many initiatives that it has launched to foster basketball culture in cities around the world. The brand also enjoys strong organic growth internationally due to the accessibility of the sport and the NBA’s cultural allure. The result? About a quarter of NBA pros have international backgrounds and the sport is enjoyed in almost every corner of the world.

The NBA has worked hard for its global success. Its leadership is well aware that less than 1 per cent of NBA fans will actually watch a game at an arena. To the majority of fans who won’t, the NBA promotes itself through both a comprehensive broadcasting and communications strategy, and a determined push to encourage people of all backgrounds, all over the globe, to play the game.

For decades the NBA has operated camps and academies in various countries, collaborated with international leagues and pioneered community-focused initiatives in developing nations. For example, the success of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders programme in Africa, which provided education and training to young people, led to the establishment of the professional Basketball Africa League in 2020.


hoop dreams

High Fliers

The NBA and Abu Dhabi DCT’s Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League saw hundreds of boys and girls take to the court to put into practice the tricks of the trade picked up from professional mentors, including four-time NBA champion Tony Parker (pictured). From shooting technique to the virtues of playing as a team, the initiative teaches skills that can be used in all walks of life.



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Monocle 24

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