The National Basketball Association’s league for up-and-coming talent will go under a new name before the year is over. Beginning with the 2017-2018 season, the NBA Development League—known as the “D-League”—will be called the NBA Gatorade League, or “G-League.”
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Since its debut in 2001, the D-League has served as a farm system of sorts for the NBA, allowing young players, coaches and trainers to hone their skills in the hopes of making it to the bigger stage. Since that time, the D-League tripled from eight teams to 25.
Along with the growth in the number of teams, a rising number of NBA players have spent at least some time at the lower level. By the end of the 2015-16 season, 38 percent of players on NBA rosters had played in the D-League, including Steph Curry’s brother, Seth Curry (who’s now with the Dallas Mavericks).
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A new expanded agreement between the NBA and Gatorade led to the rebranding from “D” to “G.” Along with the new name, the league receives a new logo with Gatorade’s logo incorporated, which will be featured on game balls, team jerseys, on-court signage and scoreboards.
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There will be other changes in addition to the D-League’s new brand. Teams will be allowed to have up to two “two-way players” who will play some games in the NBA, but mostly play in the G-League. The new deal is also expected to raise the minor league players’ salaries.
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Also under the new agreement, the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) is expected to collaborate with the G-League. A press release announcing the name change stated that the institute with work with league players on product and equipment development and testing.
“As one of the most iconic brands in the world and a founding partner of the NBA Development League, Gatorade is an ideal fit for this first-of-its-kind partnership,” said Mark Tatum, NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO. “We look forward to collaborating with the renowned GSSI team to enhance player development and our game.”
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