Sunday, Nov 17, 2019
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Basketball federation at pivotal stage

The Charlie Robins/Mario Bowleg administrative era in the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) has reached a significant stage. The president and vice president, respectively, Robins and Bowleg, are in charge of national basketball, at a time when Bahamians command the largest section of the international basketball platform, ever.

The Bahamas now boasts one of the acknowledged finest female basketball players in the world. That’s Jonquel Jones, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star player with the Connecticut Sun. Waltiea Rolle is another female standout who is active in professional basketball.

In the most highly noted area of basketball competition, the National Basketball Association (NBA), Chavano “Buddy” Hield, of the Sacramento Kings, is having an all-star type season; and with the Phoenix Suns, talented center DeAndre Ayton is rounding out into a consistent force in his rookie season.

At the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) level, there is Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin, making waves at the fabled University of Mississippi as the head coach of the Lady Rebels women’s basketball program. At no other time in the history of organized Bahamian sports, with the exception of track and field and international sailing, has a discipline had so many noted performers on the world stage at the same time.

This is the backdrop from which Robins, Bowleg and the other present executives operate. Do they have the capacity to maximize this wonderful moment in time for Bahamian basketball?

This is the time for Robins, Bowleg and company to put on their marketing hats and work the Bahamian basketball product to the ultimate point of progress, inclusive of revenue. At the moment, the BBF is not particularly financially solvent. My understanding is that the BBF struggles from one national team event to the other, in order to accommodate the costs.

The BBF has never been to the point, in recent decades, of being able to gather the best of the Bahamian basketball players, because the funding has simply not been there to cover the costs of the top players for their time away from their normal lifestyles and while in camp.

So, we have been going into battle with less than our true best. Currently, the BBF is putting together a team for international representation, and, yes, it is challenged to do all that must be done. Robins and Bowleg are minded that the BBF has leverage and high market value through the aforementioned Bahamians who have a presence on the world basketball stage.

For instance, a big testimonial banquet, properly organized and marketed, honoring Jones, McPhee-McCuin, Rolle, Hield and Ayton would generate a good bit of revenue and enhance the status for the BFF at the same time.

Then of course it is the BBF that must sanction all foreign-flavored basketball events that take place in this country, as it does the local programs. That’s marketing leverage for sure. As the member body of FIBA (International Basketball Federation), the BBF is so empowered.

Robins, Bowleg and the other executives certainly have an excellent product to work with.

Can they rise to the occasion? The future holds that answer.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address sturrup1504@gmail.com or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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