Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The NBA Global Game in Manila: An idea whose time has come

Screen shot of my interview with Scott Levy.

This appears on

The NBA Global Game in Manila: An idea whose time has come
by rick olivares

During the press conference for the first NBA Asia Challenge in Manila held last September 11, 2009, I asked Scott Levy, Managing Director for NBA Asia if this event was a dry run, a precursor to an actual NBA game being played in Manila.

He said that it is one of many events to test the market and only time will tell if a NBA game was feasible.

Last Sunday during the Meet and Greet for Ron Harper at the SM Megamall, I bumped into Levy.

“We finally got it done,” I said.

Levy nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, we did.”

I’ve always had fun chatting with Levy ever since that first meeting. He even recalls one of those first questions I asked which was about him seeing the ABA-NBA merger”. “I’m not that old, Rick,” Levy protested.

I was red in the face and apologized profusely. But it’s been great.

This afternoon, we finally got to sit down and talk about this huge moment in Philippine sports history.

I asked him if there was a confluence of events that led up to this. This was Levy’s reply: “Our Global Games are a part of a broad strategy to grow the game of basketball not just the Philippines but in the rest of the world. It’s also to support the local community. The NBA Asia Challenge, NBA Madness, the Jr. NBA, the 3X tournaments that we do here are all designed to increase participation and excitement here. Now there is this beautiful building (SM Mall of Asia Arena). We have the right partner in SM. We have this long term TV partnership with Solar. There is increased media interest and coverage. All the pieces are here for this right moment.”

Levy added that the flurry of NBA activity in recent years is an indication of how the NBA views it’s prized jewel in Southeast Asia. “It is no secret in the NBA about the Filipinos love for the game of basketball and NBA basketball in particular. Believe me, everyone is just as happy to do this here for the fans.”

Added Levy: “The strategy is a broad business partnership across all our business lines. All our activities have been leading to this game. This activity isn’t the end.”

I’m going to enjoy tomorrow’s match between the Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers. Then I’m going to ask Levy what exactly he means by “this activity isn’t the end.” 

With Ed Winkle who used to be with NBA Asia but is now in the NBA HQ in New York. It was good catching up.

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