The Blacktop at the Global Village, Part II

After this year's NBA playoffs and the recent World Basketball Championship, it is evident that The League is at an exciting time in its evolution, with basketball bearing down on football as the world?s most popular sport. However, getting close and actually attaining the Number One spot are miles apart in difference, and with that in mind I would like to propose an initiative that might help push basketball over the hump globally, which would in turn strengthen the NBA?s position globally.

In 1964 Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian communications scientist, declared "the medium is the message" and ushered in the concept of the Global Village. Basically what he meant was that the electrical technologies of radio, television, personal computer, Internet, et cetera, were drawing the 6 billion people on the planet intimately closer together. His declarations revolutionized the business world, not to mention the cultural world that surrounds it.

Of course, I want to know if the Global Village has a basketball court. If so, what does it look like? (I hope not like this.)

If the NBA wants to become the pre-eminent professional sports league in the world, it must find out. Here is one idea: organize the biggest game of pickup the world has ever seen.

Start Friday evening at 6:00pm and play for 48 hours until Sunday evening at 6:00pm. If every player on the floor got to play for a half hour and a player was rotated every 6 minutes, each participant would get to experience the sport of basketball with 17 other individuals. It would take 960 players to fill the 48-hour schedule. Men play with women play with teenaged boys and girls — if you have been touched by basketball in your life, this is the game to be part of, sharing your passion for the sport.

This would be impressive in and of itself, but would be even more impressive if one began to wire the different gyms together. Imagine if the NBA had each of its 29 franchise cities around North America participating, each with a Blue team and a Red team, whose scores were being aggregated via the Internet and rebroadcast back to each gym, so the players could feel they were taking part in something bigger — a metagame of basketball (now with almost 28,000 players). As the weekend rolled across time zones from east to west, the scores for each team would continue to grow, until this decentralized game of basketball reached its climax on Sunday evening.

Now imagine the scale a little larger, with the metagame running in time zones all over the world. Do you know how many places you could find 960 ballers that would want to take part in something like this?

Inspirations: Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the Modern Olympics Games; the Global Village Square project (read more MuchMusic.

I will flesh out this idea some more … I'm pretty excited about the whole thing.

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  1. Global Village Basketball » Game On says:

    [...] I first had the idea for GVB four and a half years ago, which I wrote about in my blog sportsBabel, and posted to the community weblog SportsFilter. Since then, I have continued to work on the idea from time to time, and recently have begun my PhD in Media and Communications at the European Graduate School. Global Village Basketball constitutes a portion of the work towards my PhD degree. [...]

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