You have to give the new Overtime Elite basketball league this: They are willing to spend.
The league looking to disrupt the traditional path through major colleges to the NBA has now hired former NBA player and UConn coach Kevin Ollie to be its head coach and director of player development. He will work with former Kings’ executive Brandon Williams to run the basketball side of the operations.
“I’m ready to get back to what I was born to do: empowering and encouraging and supporting young people, and helping them grow,” Ollie said in a statement from Overtime. “There’s no better place for me to do that than OTE, an extraordinary league for extraordinary young men. I consider it my mission to help these elite athletes realize their dreams.”
Ollie also wrote an article for The Athletic talking about his time at UConn and why he signed on at OTE.
Built on the foundation of the social media powerhouse that is wildly popular with players and young fans under 30, the Overtime Elite league (OTE) plans to pay approximately 30 players ages 16-18 salaries starting at $100,000, provide medical and disability insurance, plus give them an education as they work toward their future. The idea is to provide another path to the NBA, one more akin to the soccer academies in Europe (those are tied to powerful clubs) as opposed to the high school/AAU/college system in place now.
The players who join up with OTE would compete against prep schools, international prospects, and more. The NBA has offered something similar in a way with its G-League Ignite team made of prep stars — likely two top-five picks in the upcoming NBA Draft — and former NBA players competing against G-League and other teams.
“To me, options are a good thing…” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said of Overtime Elite. “I think it’s generally good for the community to have optionality, especially when very solid people, which appears to be the case in this league that’s just been announced, are backing it and behind it. That’s one thing we will pay a lot of attention to because those young players are potentially the future of our league. We want to make sure that both on the court and off the court they’re getting the right mentoring and guidance.
“But overall, I think it’s good for the game. It’s more focus on the game. Especially all that’s happening now in digital media, social media, new streaming services, there’s definitely interest in this content.”
We’ll see what OTE looks like in a couple of years, but they are willing to spend to build the foundation.