NEW YORK – The NBA Development League (NBA D-League) completed a landmark season this year, establishing records for unique NBA players assigned with 92 and players on end-of-regular-season NBA rosters having NBA D-League experience with 199.
The 2016-17 season was also highlighted by the announcement that the league will be renamed the NBA Gatorade League (NBA G League) beginning next season through an expanded, multiyear partnership between the NBA and Gatorade, marking the first time a U.S. professional sports league has named an entitlement partner. Through the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI), the sports fuel company will collaborate with the NBA G League on programs to help enhance player sports performance and recovery.
The NBA D-League, which reached nearly 1.5 million in total attendance this past season, also announced it will expand to a record 25 teams in 2017-18 as the league has more than tripled in size since its inaugural season in 2001-02.
Other highlights from the 2016-17 NBA D-League season include:
NBA D-League Alumni in the NBA
- 199 of the 451 players (44%) on 2016-17 NBA end-of-regular-season rosters have NBA D-League experience.
- All 30 NBA teams finished the season with at least three NBA D-League veterans on their roster, with 17 teams featuring more than seven such players (up from 10 teams last year)
- 38 NBA D-League players earned a total of 51 GATORADE Call-Ups to NBA teams during the 2016-17 season.
- Four former NBA D-League coaches served as NBA head coaches this past season: Dave Joerger (Dakota Wizards/Sacramento Kings), Quin Snyder (Austin Toros/Utah Jazz), Luke Walton (Los Angeles D-Fenders/Los Angeles Lakers) and Earl Watson (Austin Spurs/Phoenix Suns).
- 17 NBA Draft 2016 first-round selections and 39 NBA Draft 2016 selections overall played in the NBA D-League league this past season.
- As part of its partnership, Gatorade will incubate its latest sports fuel products and equipment innovations in NBA G League locker rooms, and teams will have the opportunity to collaborate with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute to help players maximize their athletic potential and on-court performance.
NBA D-League Total Attendance
- Nearly 1.5 million fans attended NBA D-League games during the 2016-17 season (1,469,908), an increase of more than 10 percent in total attendance over last year, marking the eighth straight year that total attendance surpassed 1 million fans.
- The season featured the four largest crowds in the league’s history, including the highest-attended NBA D-League game in history when Raptors 905 hosted the Austin Spurs at Air Canada Centre on March 13 (18,090).
- The other games featured the Oklahoma City Blue against the Long Island Nets at Chesapeake Energy Arena on March 8 (17,695), the Santa Cruz Warriors against the Blue at Oracle Arena on Feb. 12 (17,497) and Raptors 905 against the Grand Rapids Drive at Hershey Centre in Ontario on Dec. 20 (15,011).
- The NBA D-League set records across social media for impressions (1.1 billion, +98%) and video views (102 million, +22%).
- For the first time, more than 550 NBA D-League games were streamed live exclusively via Facebook Live this past season.
- ESPNU and NBA TV combined to present 42 games this season over the entire season.
Record Jersey Partnerships
- A record 13 NBA D-League teams secured jersey partnerships for the 2016-17 season: Austin Spurs (Central Texas Pain Center), Delaware 87ers (Team Dignitas), Erie BayHawks (LECOM), Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Lutheran Health Network), Grand Rapids Drive (Metro Health), Oklahoma City Blue (Continental Resources), Raptors 905 (BMO), Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Lone Star National Bank), Salt Lake City Stars (Zions Bank), Santa Cruz Warriors (Kaiser Permanente), Texas Legends (Avigilon), Westchester Knicks (Chase) and Windy City Bulls (BMO).
About the NBA Development League
The NBA Development League is the NBA’s official minor league, preparing players, coaches, officials, trainers, and front-office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory. Featuring 22 teams with direct affiliations with NBA franchises for the 2016-17 season, the league offers elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. An all-time high 44 percent of all NBA players at the end of the 2016-17 season boasted NBA D-League experience. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. NBA D-League games are available on ESPN’s family of networks, Facebook Live and NBA TV.