The NBA and USA Basketball have worked together effectively ever since the first Dream Team hit Barcelona in 1992. That was the team that sparked the huge global basketball boom that has served the NBA in two big ways. First, it has created pools of talent worldwide that the NBA has increasingly fished for major players. Second, it has increased the fan base for the league, which recently expanded its footprint in Africa and beyond.
With great power comes great responsibility, as all the superheroes know. Now the NBA is talking directly to the kids it has so much influence on, releasing its first Youth Basketball Guidelines. It’s a welcome set of guidelines for coaches and parents everywhere. One of the most interesting recommendations is this: the NBA advises that youth players “delay single-sport specialization in the sport of basketball until age 14 or older.” Research shows that: “Athletes that reach the highest level of achievement are more likely to have played multiple sports at a young age and delayed single-sport specialization until late adolescence.”