Through a joint partnership with The Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and THINK450 is taking advantage of the all-star break of its parent body this weekend, and bringing their activities to The Bahamas.
The high-profile players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the NBA All-Star Weekend, this coming weekend, but a number of their peers in the NBA, and executives in the NBPA, will be here in Nassau. The NBPA is the union for the current professional basketball players in the NBA and THINK450 is a licensing and marketing business wholly owned by the NBPA and its members, the players. About 100 NBA players, directly connected to the NBPA and THINK450, are set to grace these shores as a part of the One Court Bahamas initiative this weekend.
“We are a nation with a special love for the game of basketball, and we are delighted to roll out the red carpet this weekend to the champions of our favorite sport,” said Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar yesterday. “NBA players could have selected to spend their leisure time at any one of the myriad of vacation hot spots around the world. They chose to come to The Bahamas, and that means the world to us.”
The highlight of the all-star weekend, the 68th Annual NBA All-Star Game, is set for Sunday at Spectrum Center in Charlotte. A number of the visiting players will be watching the game from The Bahamas, but their primary focus will be union business and matters, addressing different issues around the NBA and exploring solutions from the players’ perspective. They will also attend exclusive viewing parties, comedy shows and pool-side events along with other activities.
“We are so pleased that Bahamas Tourism has joined us as a sponsor for our premier player activation,” said NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts. “We know our players will be excited to relax in this beautiful locale and enjoy the first-class hospitality of the island.”
Minister D’Aguilar said that in response to a survey in which about 80 percent of the players in the union said they came to The Bahamas during the all-star break, they decided that it would be a good idea to officially establish a connection between the two entities which could only be beneficial to The Bahamas going forward. Family Office Experiences Sports is the private body which brought the two groups together.
“The Bahamas has long been famous for its sun, sand and sea, and we’re steadily growing in reputation as a destination for sports tourism,” said the minister. “We are delighted and proud to welcome the players of the NBA players union, and all who have come with them. The organizers have put together an awesome line-up of activities and events for the players. The economic impact of One Court Bahamas will be far-reaching for our local community. I’d like to thank the executives of the NBA players union, and all concerned, for their decision to bring this event to our destination. I extend a warm welcome to all the players, their accompanying relatives and fans, and to all, we say, when the stress of the game of basketball or the game of life becomes too much, there’s a place in The Bahamas waiting for you, to come and unplug, unwind and rejuvenate. Welcome to The Bahamas!”
The Rosewood at Baha Mar is serving as the host hotel this weekend.
Both Bahamians in the NBA – two-guard Chavano ‘Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns’ rookie center DeAndre Ayton will be a part of the all-star festivities in Charlotte this weekend. Ayton is set to compete in the Mountain Dew Rising Stars Challenge, featuring the league’s best first-year and second-year players, on Friday night; and Hield will compete in the Mountain Dew Three-Point Contest on Saturday night.
Both are having strong seasons in the NBA. Hield is averaging career numbers in a number of significant categories, and Ayton is having an impactful first season in the NBA.
Bahamian sharp shooter Hield is averaging over 20 points per game for the first time in his three-year professional career. He is putting up 20.4 points per game, pulling down 5.1 rebounds per game and dishing out 2.3 assists per game. He is among the league leaders in scoring, three-pointers made and three-point shooting, and he is doing it in just 31.6 minutes per game. The minutes played is a career-high for Hield, but only one player in the league is averaging fewer minutes and more points.
Ayton is the only rookie in the league averaging a double-double. The Bahamian big man is averaging 16.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, and is shooting 58.7 percent from the floor – one of the highest percentages for rookies in the history of the game. The 7’1” 250-pound center is averaging 31 minutes per game as the starting center for the Suns.
The NBA All-Star Weekend is expected to reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages, as it will be televised on TNT (Turner Network Television) for the 17th consecutive year.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting