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Because we’re in the business of sports, we’re used to talking about the economic impact that sports has on our respective communities. It brings jobs, a livelihood, a spark of energy, a sense of excitement to our host areas.
But let’s take a second to look at the human factor of sports, and what it means for the coming generations.
All you have to do is look at the recent NBA Finals series between San Antonio and Miami. Both teams have been basketball powerhouses for several years, and have been in the media spotlight for longer than that. Expand that to the states in which they are located, Texas and Florida, and the NBA Finals have been held in one or both of these states eight times in the last 10 years.
That’s a lot of home town fans watching the best players in the league. No, scratch that, it means that’s a lot of home town kids watching the best players, and wanting to be like them.
According to the Florida High School Athletic Association survey, almost 900 more boys were playing basketball in the state last year than 10 years ago. In Texas, that state’s high school athletic association found there are 55 more high schools with boys’ basketball teams now, than five years ago.
Miami coach Eric Spoelstra has seen the change in just the short time he’s been in South Florida. “When I first got down here it was only a football city,” he said, “but now you’re starting to see a legion of kids and young generation of NBA fans that weren’t necessarily here 15, 20 years ago.”
More NBA fans means more boys and girls growing up playing basketball, developing a love of the game and, just as importantly, developing the skills to play the game at a higher level. That can mean scholarships for families who otherwise couldn’t afford to send a child to college and, consequently, the chance for a better job, a solid career, a better life for future generations.
All because San Antonio and Miami played in the NBA Finals.
And that’s just one more reason, why sports matter.
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