NBA Ends G League Ignite Due to NCAA NIL Policy After Season

‣ The NBA is discontinuing the G League Ignite program after the 2023-24 season due to the NCAA’s Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) policy changes and the development of collectives and the transfer portal, which have altered the basketball ecosystem that Ignite was created to serve.

‣ G League Ignite was initially established to offer a professional pathway for young basketball talents who were ineligible for the draft or preferred not to attend college, with the program providing salaries of up to $500,000 and aiming to develop NBA prospects.

‣ The introduction of the NCAA’s NIL policy, allowing college athletes to earn compensation for their name, image, and likeness, has significantly reduced the appeal of the G League Ignite program to its target recruits, leading to its closure after this season.


So, big news dropped Thursday. The NBA’s pulling the plug on the G League Ignite after the 2023-24 season wraps up. They’re pointing fingers at the NCAA’s Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) policy. Plus, the whole scene with collectives and the transfer portal’s shaking things up.

NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim had his say. “Four years back, we kicked off Ignite to fill this gap in the basketball world. Gotta say, I’m kinda proud of what we managed.” He believes with how things are shifting in youth and college hoops, it’s time to call it.

Here’s the kicker from a tweet: The G League’s own baby, Ignite, meant to groom NBA hopefuls, is bowing out after this final season. Why? The hoops landscape’s in flux, they say.

Abdur-Rahim threw in a thank you note too. Big ups to GM Anthony McClish, coach Jason Hart, their crew, and every player who rocked an Ignite jersey. “Our aim to mold top NBA talent? That’s not going anywhere,” he adds.

Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, hinted at this during the All-Star Weekend last month. Mentioned the league was “reassessing” Ignite. Guess he wasn’t just making conversation.

Here’s the backstory. The G League team was the NBA’s way of offering a draft prep alternative to college hoops. It was for those not yet draft-ready or just not into the college scene.

Oh, and the pay? Ignite was dishing out salaries up to $500,000. Not bad, right? Especially when college athletes weren’t seeing a dime back in April 2016.

But here’s the twist. The NCAA’s NIL policy has kinda stolen Ignite’s thunder. High school hotshots and rising stars that Ignite eyed each year? They’re finding the NCAA route more appealing now.

Silver spilled the beans last month. He talked about players who dodged the one-and-done route for a shot at earning through basketball and deals off the court. “Now, they can do all that in college,” he said.

Another tweet drops the bomb: Ignite’s done after this season. Blame the changing hoops landscape, the NIL policy, and all that jazz.

A bit of legal backdrop – college athletes got the green light to earn from their name, image, and likeness after the Supreme Court’s NCAA v. Alston decision in 2021.

Fun fact: USC’s Bronny James, LeBron’s kid, is topping the NIL value chart at $4.9 million. Kentucky’s Robert Dillingham’s not far behind with a cool million.

Turns out, the NCAA’s NIL policy hit Ignite hard. With a dismal 6-40 record and no playoff hopes, it’s been a rough ride.

This season, Ignite’s roster boasts potential top picks for the 2024 NBA Draft – Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland. Plus, Ignite alumni like Scoot Henderson and Jalen Green are making waves in the NBA.

Mark your calendars. Ignite’s last dance is on March 28 against the Ontario Clippers. It’s gonna be one for the books.

James Shotwell
James Shotwell
James, a dedicated writer for BasketballHour, holds a degree in English and Creative Writing. A genuine sports enthusiast and skilled betting advice provider, he writes engaging articles and valuable winning strategies for sports.

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