NBA commissioner Adam Silver ‘a little jealous’ RJ Hampton chose NBL over G League
NBA commissioner Adam Silver is “a little jealous” RJ Hampton chose to play in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) over the NBA G League.
This was what Silver told ESPN (via TVNZ.co.nz) on May 29.
I am a little jealous because we are, in our G League, trying to create our own professional track.
I haven’t talked to him yet or his advisers, but to the extent he decided he was better off in Australia than our G League, I think I’m going to talk to Commissioner Shareef (Abdur-Rahim) of the G League and say, ‘What should we be looking at differently?’
Five-star recruit RJ Hampton is heading overseas to play for the New Zealand Breakers in Australia's National Basketball League pic.twitter.com/jUpB71Q7uM
— B/R Hoops (@brhoops) May 28, 2019
However, Silver took nothing away from the NBL’s junior development programs in Australia. He praised the country’s “fantastic development system.” He also called Australia “pound for pound one of the best basketball countries in the world,” per ESPN (via TVNZ.co.nz).
Silver also confided to ESPN Australia’s development system inspired the NBA to establish its own basketball academies in China, India, and Africa.
Hampton, the No. 5 prospect in ESPN’s 100 class of 2019, announced on ESPN’s “Get Up” on May 28 he signed with the NBL’s New Zealand Breakers.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported on Tuesday Hampton “becomes the first American player to willingly forgo college for playing international basketball.” However, Hampton made it clear to the hosts of “Get Up” his “No. 1 goal is to play in the NBA.”
The final uncommitted five-star in the class of 2019 … is heading to the New Zealand Breakers instead of to Kansas or Memphis https://t.co/ZjYw3X2VQc
— SI College Hoops (@si_ncaabb) May 28, 2019
The move comes as a shock to some basketball aficionados. The 6’5″, 188-lb. Hampton had whittled down his college recruitment list to Kansas, Memphis, and Texas Tech. Hampton also considered scholarships from Duke and Kentucky, per Givony.
Hopefully, RJ Hampton’s decision to play in the NBL will help him achieve his goal of playing in the NBA someday.