As part of its new era, the NBA G League is not only offering players more tools to improve on the court, but off of it, too.
This year the league will introduce the NBA G League Education Program, which is designed to better prepare NBA G League players for post-playing careers. The program will be run in partnership with Arizona State University (ASU) and Game Plan, a student-athlete development platform.
“The NBA G League prides itself on its ability to provide players with best-in-class opportunities not only to take their games to the next level, but to prepare them for their professional lives after basketball,” said Malcolm Turner, NBA G League President. “We’re immensely proud of our Education Program and are thrilled to partner with ASU and Game Plan to elevate our players now and into the future.”
ASU will offer NBA G League players the opportunity to take classes and earn their degree through the university’s online undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Players may also take courses through ASU’s Global Freshman Academy, which allows students to earn ASU academic credit that can be used once they are enrolled in a degree program or transfer to another university. Game Plan will provide its comprehensive athlete development suite of eLearning courses, assessments, virtual mentorship and career marketplace.
“As a model for the New American University, ASU continues expanding access to higher education for students around the world, and through ASU Online we strive to allow all individuals who are interested in pursuing their education the opportunity to achieve this goal,” said Phil Regier, University Dean for Educational Initiatives and CEO of EdPlus at Arizona State University. “We are pleased to partner with the NBA G League as part of their Education Program in order to provide its players with a pathway to a quality higher education and degree completion.”
“Life after sport is a challenging transition for the most prepared of athletes,” said Vin McCaffrey, CEO and founder of Game Plan. “Game Plan is proud to partner with the NBA G League in developing a comprehensive program to help players prepare for that transition. Since 2008, we’ve worked with over 50 Division I athletic departments and their 50,000 student-athletes. The Game Plan platform is an investment into the success of players now and in the future, providing the flexibility to fit into the busy schedules of NBA G League.”
The NBA G League Education Program, co-authored by current and former players, will be available to players up to five years after they play in the league. Implementation of the program began during training camp, when players took the first of two assessments, Game Plan’s Athlete Identity Assessment, which helps create awareness of an athlete’s key personality identifiers to enable success as a player and beyond. Over the course of the season, players will take Game Plan’s Athlete Interest Inventory, which helps identify an athlete’s academic and career interests.
In addition to academic offerings, the program will provide players with access to Game Plan’s career marketplace that houses companies in search of athletes transitioning into job opportunities. ASU, recognized as a leader in high quality online education and ranked the most innovative university in the nation for three straight years by U.S. News & World Report, emerged as an ideal partner for the NBA G League Education Program, offering degrees identical to those given to on-campus students.
“We are committed to helping players develop the skills and experiences necessary to be successful in the career of their choice after retirement,” said Greg Taylor, Senior Vice President of Player Development at the NBA. “The NBA G League Education Program is an important part of the many education and professional development programs that the league makes available to players. We are excited to partner with ASU and Game Plan, two first class education organizations, to provide players with invaluable resources and support.”
The Education Program is one of many measures the NBA’s Player Development team has taken to assist athletes. With more than 20 signature programs, NBA Player Development educates players on issues like work-life balance, financial management, respect and inclusion, and speaking with the media.
Many players learned about life after basketball through two opportunities offered during the offseason:
- NBA Career Crossover: Apprentice Program – Aims to assist recently retired players with career and professional development skills via department experiences in the league office. The three-month immersion experience is open to all recently retired NBA, WNBA, and NBA G League players, and is determined by the players’ career interest and strategic league initiatives.
- Job Shadow Program – Provides current players with the opportunity to develop their post-playing career interests. Companies involved in the program are committed to educating players on their respective industries, providing opportunities for players to offer feedback on current business projects and learn how to become involved after their basketball career. Companies have included 2K, PepsiCo, Facebook, Google and Douglas Elliman Real Estate.