WITH A target of improving the National Basketball League (NBL) next year, Jamaica Basketball Association (JABBA) President Paulton Gordon is targeting a late January return with $7 million in sponsorship.

Gordon was speaking during a three-day basketball clinic put on by the US Embassy which concluded on Saturday.

Local basketballers got some much-needed experience this summer in the E1 Caribbean Basketball League (CBL), a competition Gordon said he would use to improve the NBL.

He said plans were being finalised for the return of the league next year as well as securing the $7 million in sponsorship it would take.

“So we want to run that concurrently but it will be a longer version. But we are expecting to have the NBL running from mid-January to some time in March,” said Gordon.

“For an efficiently run league, we are tacking some resources now. We have spoken to the Sports Development Foundation already and we have started the dialogue with about three or four companies including some media entities. We want to secure the resources before we make any announcements,” Gordon told The Gleaner.

The overall strategy, according to Gordon, is for the NBL to run simultaneously with the Caribbean league in order to provide the pool of players needed to develop the local talent and expose them to a wider audience.

“It is one of the reasons why we did the summer league with phase one to get the local players back on that platform. So we had 30, 35 of our better players involved in that summer league. We are in the process of planning another E1 CBL league for January to February. We are putting the final pieces in place,” Gordon said.

LOCAL CLUB LEAGUE

“What we want to do is have a local club league running concurrently with that. So that is part of the plan now so it will provide a broader pool of players. The ones who are in the semi-pro league and then the base below that feeds into that semi-pro league.”

Gordon says that he hopes that the local league can be used to push the reach of the Caribbean league, although they are more focused on securing the financial capital for a successful execution.

“Ideally what we want is that we can use the NBL as a promotion platform for the E1 CBL and that is a dialogue that is happing now in terms of how it would work. There are still some areas that we are uncertain about in terms of structure. But the most important thing now is to identify the resources to make both things happen,” Gordon said.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com

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