By Owen Sanborn, @owensanborn
The NBA has announced a new activation with Gatorade to rename the NBA D-League (short for developmental league) into the NBA Gatorade League (G-League) starting in the 2017-18 season. Specific terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.
Not only is this a fantastic play on letters -- Gatorade has been focused on trying to establish their G Series brand -- but also a perfect molding of mantras. The NBA wants the G-League to be branded as an avenue for players to improve their performance while teams can use it as a resource to develop prospects at their own pace. Gatorade will be able to leverage that and enhance their standing as an athlete development brand.
With 22 teams in place and three more on the way for the 2017-18 season, the NBA is inching closer to finally having their own 30-team farm system.
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As time goes on, the G-League should no longer be a place where players go to disappear, but rather an important cog in the development of a prospect or battle-tested veteran.
Player salaries for the league will be on the rise thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, and partnering with Gatorade brings a credibility to the league that the NBA (and its followers) have been seeking.
Why would anyone else take the league seriously if it didn't even do so itself?
This announcement and the upcoming league expansion changes all of that. Order has been restored, and the NBA continues to hit home runs.