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NBA Plans to Open Training Academy in Mexico City

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November 27, 2017

The NBA has long discussed the idea of having a franchise based in Mexico City, and sources say the league-funded academy could be the first step in realizing that goal. (Photo: Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

The NBA will announce a new basketball development and training academy in Mexico City during the Global Games Dec. 7 and 9, in conjunction with CONADE (Mexico's National Commission for Physical Culture and Sport) and the Mexican Basketball Federation, sources told ESPN.

The NBA has long discussed the idea of having a franchise based in Mexico City, and sources say the league-funded academy in Mexico City could be the first step toward realizing that goal.

Commissioner Adam Silver held a press conference prior to the Mexico City Global Games in January during which he discussed the potential.

"In terms of a franchise here in Mexico City, it is something to look at," he said. "Obviously, it's an incredible market with over 20 million people, the largest market in North America and, while we have no immediate plans to expand, one of the things that we look at, it's whether expanding will be additive to the league as a whole and clearly coming to Mexico City, not just because the population of the city but as a gateway to the rest of Latin America could potentially be very important for the league."

The NBA currently has 6 academies: 3 in China (Jinan, Urumqi and Hangzhou); 1 in Thies, Senegal; 1 in Delhi, India; and a Global Academy serving as the hub for elite prospects, in Canberra, Australia.

The academies provide teenagers with NBA-level coaching, facilities and competition, while also stressing educational development. The regional academies (besides the hub in Australia) are in areas with lesser basketball infrastructure and tradition where elite-level prospects may slip between the cracks, lessening the NBA's opportunity to expand its reach with marquee international talent. The academies are expected to expand the league's pool of potential players to add to team's rosters, while also improving the basketball culture in those areas.

Sources say the seventh academy in Mexico City, named the NBA Academy Latin America, will initially be utilized as a location for male and female prospects from Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean, starting early next year.

Mexico City already has a state of the art facility in CNAR, the National Center for Talent Development and High Performance Sports, at its disposal that the NBA can tap into.

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