Tynesha Lewis, Elizabeth City State University

NBA G League Ignite To Disband After Current Season Amid Changing Landscape Of Youth Basketball Development

The team was started to give basketball prospects the chance to develop their skills in a professional environment to prepare for the NBA Draft.

The NBA has announced that NBA G League Ignite, a team that is owned and operated by the league, will cease to exist after this current season.

NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim made the announcement four years after the NBA first started the team to give high school and college prospects the chance to develop their skills in a professional environment to prepare for the NBA Draft.

“Four years ago, we started Ignite to fill a void in the basketball landscape, and I’m proud of the contributions we were able to make to that ecosystem,” said Abdur-Rahim in a written statement. “With the changing environment across youth and collegiate basketball, now is the right time to take this step. I want to extend my sincere gratitude to general manager Anthony McClish, head coach Jason Hart, and their staff, and to each player who wore an Ignite jersey. As ever, the G League’s commitment to developing top NBA talent and helping players achieve their NBA dreams is unwavering.”

The reason given for the team’s termination is the current climate in the NCAA, where student-athletes can capitalize on their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL), which allows students to accept endorsement deals from any interested companies.

When the league introduced the G League Ignite team in April 2020, it provided a first-of-its-kind development pathway for NBA Draft prospects to hone their skills and learn the professional game, all while receiving a salary and endorsement income before they were eligible for the NBA Draft.

In the team’s first three seasons, 10 players who were developed through the team were selected in the NBA Draft, including four players selected in the top 10 of their classes. Some players participating in the NBA G League Fall Invitational were offered a platform for top prospects to showcase their talents. Victor Wembanyama (currently playing for the San Antonio Spurs) participated in 2022, while Alexandre Sarr and the Perth Wildcats played last year.

The team will play its last game on March 28 against the Ontario Clippers.

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