The Bahamas hosts NBPA
The NBA hosted their all-star festivities last weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. During that time, several NBA players were here enjoying the break with friends and family as a part of the “One Court Bahamas” initiative, a partnership between the Ministry of Tourism and the NBA Players Association (NBPA). The host hotel was Baha Mar.
Senior Manager for Sports Tourism at the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation Jeff Rodgers said that it was an exciting weekend for The Bahamas.
“This weekend was truly an exciting weekend for The Bahamas,” Rodgers said.
“I thank God for the opportunity to be able to work for the past nine months to work with the NBA Players Union that represent the 450 players in the NBA. This was one of those initiatives that we started to work on nine months ago. To experience this weekend was an amazing experience to see the players come over with their family and friends. There were also rap artists and other celebrities. It was a wonderful experience to be in that environment and representing the Ministry of Tourism – the major sponsor for this initiative – was a great experience for me personally.”
It was a collective effort as several government agencies came together to make the weekend a success.
“My hat goes out to Anthony Curtis and Herbert Duncombe who represented the police and private security. They did a marvelous job with their colleagues to secure an event of this magnitude. Everything went smoothly. I also want to thank the Department of Immigration who worked extremely hard. They had a lot of flights coming in late at 2 a.m. Some players came after the all-star game on Sunday night and so immigration and customs was out there late. They were a part of the planning from day one. We thank them and Baha Mar, Rosewood, SLS, the Grand Hyatt and our tourism staff. Then there was UPS that did a great job too,” Rodgers said.
He thanked the Nassau Airport Development company for its cooperation.
There was a closed door meeting on Monday where a few new faces were elected to the union. Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets is still the president. Andre Igoudala of the Golden State Warriors was elected first vice-president, replacing the position previously held by Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers. Joining him are youngsters Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks’ Malcolm Brogdon and Charlotte Hornets’ Bismack Biyombo, who were elected to serve as vice presidents on the executive committee.
In addition to those players, the other members of the executive committee include Anthony Tolliver (secretary-treasurer), Pau Gasol, CJ McCollum and Garrett Temple (vice presidents).
Rodgers also noted that the players want to come back next year. He said this is huge for The Bahamas.
“What it means is that we got 450 players who are going to tweet to all of their fans and friends that the place to come is The Bahamas. It shows that we have something that the world wants and the only way they are going to get it is to come down here and hang out,” Rodgers said.
As for targeting other leagues like the NFL and MLB, Rodgers said; “We have a series of meetings going on right now. I am based in New York and meetings are coming up at the end of this month. We already started to talk with the NFL to see how we can work with them to bring some of their conferences here to The Bahamas. We also have talks with different soccer teams. Sports is big for us but we just have to know how to build a relationship.”
Rodgers says he hopes they can work with the NBPA for another five years and he and the ministry know that it will get bigger and better next year.
One of the goals moving forward, according to Rodgers, is to build a first-class outdoor basketball court on every island.
The NBPA is the union for current professional basketball players in the NBA. Established in 1954, the NBPA’s mission is to ensure that the rights of NBA players are protected and that every conceivable measure is taken to assist players in maximizing their opportunities and achieving their goals, both on and off the court. It advocates on behalf of the best interests of all NBA players.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism