Basketball: NBA legend Carmelo Anthony joins NBL’s Next Stars program.

NBA legend Carmelo Anthony will join the ownership group of a future NBL expansion team after signing a deal to “attract and mentor top players around the world” for the Australian league’s Next Stars program.

Anthony, who was one of the NBA’s leading scorers and played for six clubs during his 19-year professional career, is the latest in a growing list of American greats to join the NBL and its pathway program, which has produced eight league draftees NBA, including LaMelo Ball and Josh Giddey.

Alexandre Sarr of the Perth Wildcats is also rated No. 2 in ESPN’s latest 2024 NBA Mock Draft.

Kenny Smith, who played in the NBA for 10 years before becoming a leading commentator and analyst, was also recently named the head of Next Stars Player Initiatives in North America.

The addition of Anthony adds more credibility to the NBL program and a league that has proven to be a breeding ground for NBA talent.

“Joining the NBL, I am excited about the opportunity to not only elevate basketball in Australia, but to impact the global landscape of the sport,” Anthony said.

“The recent pool of talent coming from the NBL to the NBA has been extremely impressive and the Next Stars program is a great example of the league’s commitment to nurturing talent and cultivating elite players. I look forward to working with the league to help play a role in shaping the future of basketball around the world.”

The Next Stars program was initially launched as an alternative to the college basketball system, looking for players to spend a year in the NBL in hopes of being drafted.

The recent demise of the NBA’s own version, the NBA G-League Ignite, means the NBL program is once again promising as an avenue for players looking to avoid lengthy college careers.

“Our track record speaks for itself and the Next Stars program is where more and more future NBA stars are developed,” said NBL Director and Board Member Nikola Milivojevic.

“As a master of his craft and a legend of the game, Carmelo is the ideal mentor for our next stars and the perfect partner for the NBL as we chart a path forward that includes launching more new NBA stars, reaching new audiences and exploring new markets. and leaves an indelible mark on the world level for future generations. Now with Carmelo on board, along with Kenny Smith, we’re going to take it to a whole new level.”

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