The NBA is on track to open a new development and training academy in Mexico City, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, who reports that the league-funded basketball academy will be officially announced at next month’s Global Games in Mexico.
The academy in Mexico City will be the seventh of its kind, as the NBA has already opened academies in Senegal, India, and Australia, along with three in China. According to Givony, the new NBA Academy Latin America will “be utilized as a location for male and female prospects from Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean, starting early next year.”
While the opening of the academy is worth noting on its own, Givony also hears that it could be the first step toward the NBA establishing a stronger foothold in Mexico City. The league has long contemplated the idea of having a team based in Mexico, and sources tell ESPN that the new academy could help make that a more viable possibility.
According to Givony, Mexico City may eventually emerge as a 31st franchise for the G League, where prospects from the league’s seven training academies graduate to. As ESPN’s report notes, commissioner Adam Silver has addressed the idea of a Mexico City franchise in the past, suggesting that Mexico will need to produce home-grown NBA players to make it a legit possibility.
“Obviously, it’s an incredible market with over 20 million people, the largest market in North America,” Silver said of Mexico City in January. “While we have no immediate plans to expand, one of the things that we look at, it’s whether expanding will be additive to the league as a whole and clearly coming to Mexico City, not just because the population of the city but as a gateway to the rest of Latin America could potentially be very important for the league.”