The NBL and its players remain in talks about slippery sponsor signs as the league remains hopeful it can tip-off its inaugural NBL Cup as scheduled at John Cain Arena on Saturday.
Dejan Vasiljevic.Credit:Getty Images
Australian Basketball Players’ Association representatives and league officials held talks on Tuesday about slippery on-court sponsor signs, known as decals.
Andrew Bogut, Corey Webster and rookie guard Dejan Vasiljevic
were among the players who took to social media to raise complaints about the decals, an issue players have raised several times in the opening five rounds.
They were angered by Sydney Kings import Jarell Martin going down injured after slipping over although replays appear to show he didn’t slip on a decal.
The NBL says its decals sit ‘very close’ to the ideal FIBA standard and they can’t paint-on the signs like NBA clubs do due to not owning their stadiums.
Virtual signage is also not an option due to cost.
The NBL first blamed the use of an incorrect cleaning agent for making the decals slippery in round one but issues have been raised since with Webster tweeting he won’t be making ‘stepback’ moves, which require you to plant your foot heavily, for fear he will injure himself.
“The ABPA has again raised significant concerns with the NBL about the safety of the league’s court decals. Despite the NBL’s initial response, the problem has not been resolved,” the ABPA said.
“The league will be implementing further actions and measures based on the direct feedback of players, and the ABPA will be monitoring the outcomes closely.
“It is critical that NBL players are provided with a safe workplace, and dealing with this issue is a top priority.”
NBL owner Larry Kestelman said player health was paramount for the league although they also needed to keep the decals as the revenue was essential.
“On-court advertising provides an essential source of revenue for the league and clubs to fund NBL operations including items such as referee costs and the production of our broadcast, which in turn is essential to the revenue generating capacity of our clubs,” Kestelman said.
“The NBL uses multi-purpose courts, which are owned by multi-purpose venues, and as such painted courts are simply not an option at this stage. The economics of virtual signage have been closely explored but are not viable. However, we will continue to look at all options and work closely with all venues and clubs to ensure best practice for player safety is protected.”
The talks came as the league is anxiously watching developments in Victoria’s ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown.
It hopes lockdown will be lifted allowing teams to fly into Melbourne to start the NBL Cup which will see all nine teams stay in the city and play each other once for both league points and points towards the inaugural NBL Cup.
League officials still hope they can start the competition as planned on Saturday should the lockdown end although whether crowds can attend will also rest with health advice.
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