Given how much he likes to play basketball and given USABasketball’s interest in having him play this summer, you’d have to think that Zion Williamson would like to be on Team USA for the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
But there’s more to it than that, at least assuming his newly hired agents at CAA are on the ball as we assume they are.
The World Cup will be held in China.
We’re quite sure that Chinese basketball fans are aware of Williamson but seeing him in person, or at least in country, are very different things.
As a marketing opportunity it’s unbelievably huge. Given his remarkable game and his infectious personality, we think that a star turn in China could ultimately be worth a minimum of tens of millions of dollars and possibly much more than that.
Fans of a certain age will remember that Tommy Amaker, Kenny Smith and Muggsy Bogues went with Team USA to play in Spain in the ‘80s (this was obviously not the NBA version: NBA participation started in 1992 with the Dream Team).
Well, Bogues became a phenomenon in Spain. He was called la Chispa Negra, the Black Spark, and was so idolized that he was invited back to participate in some non-basketball events (the NCAA killjoys said no).
This was before the age of social media and all of that. Imagine what the Chinese would think after seeing what Duke fans saw all season. More than once we found ourselves laughing at the improbability of this guy moving through the air like a flying bulldozer.
It was just an incredible thing to see and the Chinese would be amazed as well. Frankly it’s fun to even consider.
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