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Kenny Smith Takes Charge of NBL’s Next Stars


  • Kenny Smith Joins NBL: NBA champ and broadcaster to grow Next Stars program.
  • New Pathways to the NBA: Smith to mentor talent, highlighting NBL as top NBA feeder.
  • NBL Expansion Team: Smith to co-own new team, amplifying league’s global reach.

Kenny Smith’s New Court

Two-time NBA champion and renowned broadcaster Kenny Smith is stepping into a pivotal role within the National Basketball League’s (NBL) Next Stars program. The NBL has officially named Smith as the head of player initiatives in North America, a strategic move aimed at leveraging his extensive network and influence in the basketball world.

Next Stars Program: A Stepping Stone to the NBA

The Next Stars program, established in the 2018-19 season, is the NBL’s answer to providing elite, draft-eligible players a competitive platform before the NBA draft. With eight draftees to its name, including lottery picks like LaMelo Ball and Josh Giddey, the program is a proven NBA springboard.

“With my passion for growing the game of basketball globally, I’m incredibly excited to be an ambassador of the NBL’s Next Stars program and to be fully invested in the growth of the NBL as a future owner of a new expansion team,” Smith said.

Smith’s Vision for Global Growth

Smith’s appointment is more than just a role; it’s a commitment to the future of basketball. As a soon-to-be co-owner of an NBL expansion team, Smith’s vision is to elevate the league’s status and create more avenues for players to make the leap to the NBA.

The Edge Over College Basketball

The Next Stars program was born as a formidable alternative to the college basketball route, targeting the one-and-done talents. With the NBA G-League Ignite folding after the 2023-24 season, the NBL’s program stands to gain more ground, especially with Smith’s mentorship.

“This is going to be the pathway for the young man who feels that his skills are higher than college, but also wants to keep his draft stock and also learn how to be a pro, earlier,” Smith stated.

The NBL’s Competitive Edge

The NBL is not just a league; it’s a career catalyst. With 11 former NBL players currently in the NBA, the league is on a mission to increase this number significantly. Smith’s role in expanding the Next Stars program is crucial to this goal.

Ready for the Pros

Smith emphasizes the physicality and professionalism of the NBL, which prepares players for the NBA like no other program.

“Oh, it’s physical because you’re playing against men… But what that also allows you to understand is not only the physicality of the game, it’ll get you ready for your next step, which is the ultimate goal from going from the NBL to the NBA.”

Final Thoughts

Kenny Smith’s partnership with the NBL is a game-changer for aspiring NBA players. With his guidance, the Next Stars program is set to become the premier pathway to professional basketball’s highest echelons.

#NBLNextStars #PathToPro 🏀

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