This week on The Edge, we talk to Chris Ebersole, the Senior Director of International Basketball Operations and Elite Basketball at the NBA. We spoke with Chris about his responsibilities at the NBA, where he oversees two of the NBA’s largest international programs, Basketball Without Borders (which has produced players like Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam) and the NBA Academies (a newer program of elite basketball training centers around the world).

Chris told us about the NBA’s Global Games initiative, his favorite international prospects in this year’s NBA draft, and the new G League Selects team. He also shared his thoughts NBA’s partnership with Nex Team and Homecourt, and how it has enabled his staff to stay in touch with their international players during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Podcast Highlights

5:45 – Restart of the NBA in Orlando: “We want to try to innovate. And this is an opportunity to do that. And just from a competition structure standpoint, obviously everything that we’re going to have to do around game operations there’s going to be a lot of innovation there.”

7:48 – What the NBA is looking at for social justice: “And so these last few weeks have just been an interesting time for us as a staff and as coaches and as operators, educating ourselves and figuring out our stance, but also making sure that we’re providing a platform for our athletes to find their voice as well.”

16:25 – Basketball Without Borders: “Basketball without Borders is really the foundation for us in terms of international basketball operations and what the NBA does all over the world.”

24:15 – Basketball without Borders Global Camp: “Our goal is to provide the best possible exposure platform to let them be seen by all of those players and all the scouts and coaches from all those different levels.”

26:20 – NBA Global Games: “The Global Games themselves have been such a crucial part of growing the NBA’s footprint outside the US.”

30:55 – NBA Global Academy: “We now have six academies all over the world. We want to develop them (players) as citizens and as leaders as well.”

37:40 – NBA Global Academy Competition Structure: “We’re okay with setting up opportunities for our players to lose games and to fail. That’s really where we see the best development.”

41:10 – Using technology connecting with athletes during COVID: “With the pandemic hitting and only being able to engage virtually with the majority of our athletes for the last several months, it has been, really a lifesaver in a lot of ways for us just to be able to use that technology.”

45:18 – NBA G League Select Team: “A lot of how we look at basketball development overall at the NBA is sort of like a pyramid. I think the fact that we now have, the G league focusing on players in that age group makes that pyramid that much more comprehensive.”

47:15 – Filipino NBA Prospects: “Nothing quite like basketball in the Philippines. And so to have Jalen Green is a Filipino American and Kai Sotto, who’s from the Philippines, as part of that program, is going to be a game changer for basketball in that region.

53:50 – Advice for people looking to break into the basketball industry: “Get talking to as many folks as you can to start to get a picture of what it is about basketball and what area really excites you the most.”