TV Producer Looking to Create NBA Exhibition Tour

by August 04, 2011

Hmm, where have we seen this idea before? Oh, right: here. That being said, I’m glad to see someone actively working to make it happen. From SI: “[Fred] Smith is a staple in these parts, a longtime television cameraman and producer who chronicled the early days of Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson’s most memorable moments and thousands of others in this city. But now Smith is angling for a very different shot: a domestic, player-led exhibition tour that could possibly evolve into a league of their own. Smith — who suddenly finds himself playing the Adam Silver to Drew League commissioner Dino Smiley’s David Stern — spent much of Sunday trying to convince NBA players that it’s time for them to step up in this endeavor. Talk of an Aug. 20 All-Star exhibition between L.A.’s Drew League and the Washington, D.C.-based Goodman League in the nation’s capital has been a sorely needed reason for excitement for the most hardcore of hoops fans, but logistical challenges that Smith says are related to the NBA’s labor situation have made this a harder sell than he ever imagined. As Smith sees it, numerous television networks are bypassing the opportunity for fear of jeopardizing their current agreements with the NBA. While Smiley and Smith were hoping to have the airfare, transportation and housing covered for NBA and non-NBA players alike, the lack of a media partner has left them scrambling for sponsors and faced with the possibility of having to use private loans to ensure the game happens … ‘I try to explain to these players, ‘Why do you think … that ESPN, Fox, TNT — for the most part — haven’t been knocking down your door to talk to you, haven’t been looking to do interviews with you? Because they’re partners with the NBA. They’re management. You’re labor. They’re not going to come talk to you. You’re on your own,’ said Smith. ‘And I’m telling them, ‘You have a chance to take control of your life a little bit here.’ We’re not going to replace the NBA. … But I’m showing them how if you get on board this thing now, and get your fans on board, you could very easily create a second revenue stream for yourself in the summer, if not beyond.'”