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G League docuseries 'The Break' spotlighting unique paths to NBA

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In recent years, the NBA G League has grown in popularity. Teams areutilizing the benefits it provides, players are taking advantage ofthe opportunity it presents and fans are tuning in to see talentswho will eventually be gracing the big stage in theAssociation.

Due to the increasing demand of more coverage around the leagueitself and the top-prospect-laden Ignite program, the G League hasaligned with The General Insurance to produce an eight-partdocuseries called "The Break."

Two shows in since premiering last month, "The Break" will dropnew episodes roughly every three weeks and conclude in April. Theproject features rising Ignite star ScootHenderson, 2020-21 G League Rookie of the Year Mac McClung andlongtime veteran and two-time NBA champion Norris Cole. In theseepisodes, you're taken both behind the scenes and on the court withexclusive footage that illustrates these players' respectivepaths to the NBA.

To learn more about the series, the process behind it and more,Basketball News discussed "The Break" with G League Head ofPartnerships George Wilson.

The amount of attention that was on Scoot Henderson andVictor Wembanyama this fall before the season began was historic.Was that the basis for the idea to start the show? If not, whatwas?

George Wilson: "We decided to create thisdocuseries with The General so we could bring our fans closer tothe game by following our players as they strive to realize theirgoal of making it to the NBA.

"But, the attention surrounding Scoot and Victor — thepresumptive top two picks in the 2023 NBA Draft — is certainlyundeniable, and they served as the perfect starting point for thisseries in the first episode. Beyond Scoot and Victor, the basis indeveloping this series was to foster deeper connections between ourfans and the players around the league. The G League is filled withincredible talent, improving year after year, with almost half ofNBA players on opening night rosters having played in the G League.So we are glad this docuseries could further shine a light on theirjourneys."

Could you give some background as to why you chose ScootHenderson, Mac McClung and Norris Cole to be featured on the showthroughout the eight-part series in particular?

Wilson: "Scoot, Mac and Norris are all playingin the G League, but each is on a different path to the next levelin the NBA. They really represent the diversity in the league, andthat it is a place for players at different stages of their careersto achieve their dreams. Whether it’s through a likely top pick inthe 2023 NBA Draft in Scoot Henderson, the 2021-22 Kia NBA G LeagueRookie of the Year in Mac McClung or a two-time NBA Champion inNorris Cole, we sought to effectively showcase that this leaguedoesn’t have one linear path. The NBA G League is filled withhundreds of players who have such compelling stories, all lookingto achieve a common goal, and we’re glad our fans can be a part oftheir journeys through this docuseries."

What were each of those three players' reactions whenyou told them they'd be a part of this series? Was there any inputon their end idea-wise?

Wilson: "The players were very excited to befeatured in the series and bring our fans along the way throughoutthe season. They have input throughout, from start to finish.Before each episode, we work with them as they offer anysuggestions. For example, earlier this season, Mac’s family came toa game and nearly 30 of his family members and friends wore “Mac”T-shirts in the crowd, so when Mac gave us a heads up, we wanted tobe sure to capture that as part of the episode. Our job incollaboration with the team at Blue Cup Productions is to ensurethat we’re authentic in the way in which we feature our players andpersonalities. So their input and ideas are critical to thisproject’s overall success."

Why is it important for the G League to share the insidetrack to these players/teams off the court?

Wilson: "We continue to hear from our fans thatthey are seeking increased access to our players and teams. Thisdocuseries allows us to meet our fans where they are, offering themcontinued compelling content to engage with our league and players.A player’s path through the G League can often be overlooked, so itwas important through our collaboration with The General toshowcase these players’ incredible journeys and the amount of workthey put in throughout the season to achieve their goals. Theleague and its players also continue to garner added attention eachseason, so we are glad this docuseries met the demand we saw fromour fans in wanting increased content."

To that point, do you feel like this docuseries willhelp illustrate the G League's growing popularity? Also, why do youthink so many people have taken notice of it in these recentseasons?

Wilson: "Our hope is that the docuseriesshowcases the league’s growing popularity and the tremendous talentfilled in this league. The G League’s growth, particularly over thepast few years, has truly been remarkable. As mentioned, nearlyhalf of the players on NBA opening night rosters played in the GLeague. Ten years ago, that percentage sat at roughly 19%. Thatalso extends to coaches, with six NBA head coaches having spenttime on G League benches, and more than 75 NBA assistant coacheswere assistant or head coaches in the G League.

"The G League has also helped the NBA infrastructure grow, andwe have always been an effective testing ground for NBA rules andprocedures. The Coach’s Challenge and the 14-second reset onoffensive rebounds were initially used in our league and are now astaple of every NBA game. This past week, we employed Final TargetScores at the 2022 AT&T NBA G League Winter Showcase, and thedata from those finishes is extremely valuable in helpingpotentially enhance the game experience for fans and players. We’vealso been using Final Target Scores throughout the regular season,as every G League game that goes into overtime ends on a targetscore.

"Certainly, we’ve seen a significant amount of attentionrecently surrounding our NBA G League Ignite team with the numberof talented players from that team now in the NBA. Additionally,the Capitanes’ first season in Mexico City marks an importantmilestone for the G League and the NBA in our ongoing commitment togrowing the game across Latin America.

"We’re looking forward to ongoing momentum throughout the restof the season and beyond, with additional players landing on NBArosters, and our league continuing to serve as a hub forinnovation."

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