The NBA's push for global popularity has played a crucial role in the game's evolution from so many different aspects.
When you think global, you think of basketball leagues forming, new fans, branding and so much more. You think somewhere along the lines of soccer with how things have evovled in similar fashion (by the way, ads on jerseys are next).
What often goes overlooked is how the average fan from a different country needs to stay up at wacky hours just to watch his --or her-- favorite team play. Not to mention, it's hard to find other fans in your city -- or even country -- to root alongside for your favorite team. (That's why we're here!)
These are the type of fans that are so often taken for granted; the ones that live busy lives just like you and I, but still do whatever it takes to stay awake and support their team through the good and through the bad.
This is where New Zealand natives Jasmine, Manny and Youssef come in, all whom work or attend school, but never let anything get in the way of their number one passion: the Brooklyn Nets. They host a podcast called "Brooklyn Speaks" every Saturday to discuss the latest on their beloved team from the states.
And they did this BEFORE Sean Marks, a native of Auckland, NZ, was named Nets GM!
Now, these three intrepid Nets fans are suddenly the vanguard of what could be a new fan base 10,000 miles away, thanks to the Marks hiring.
Marks is one of only four New Zealanders to ever play in the NBA. He's the first to become a General Manager. Coming from a country with about 4.5 million people - comparable to northern New Jersey -- it's pretty incredible that Marks was able to land one of 30 GM jobs the NBA has to offer.
He's serving as an icon for not only the Nets' fan base, but also for the NBA and its push to gain fans all around the world. A young star like Marks was practically a hero in his home country the day he was hired as General Manager.
Just ask Jasmine - who lives in Auckland and said how "it lead the news and the papers the entire next day." Running an NBA team in the biggest market in the world sounds like the perfect way for Marks to put New Zealanders onto the Nets if he hasn't already from his playing days.
There has been an upward trend in NetsDaily fans since Marks, too.
In the month of February, when news of the Nets interest in Marks started, New Zealand joined the top ten in ND visits for the first time. Australia, always one of our strongholds, was No. 4.
In terms of "New Users", however, New Zealand came in No. 6 over the last month.
New Zealand had never finished in the Top 10 in either of those lists before. That's the most up-to-date data we have, but our SoundCloud numbers, which we can access on a day-to-day basis, shows that since he was hired, interest from New Zealand has skyrocketed.
During the week that Marks was hired, New Zealand ranked No. 3 in NetsDaily SoundCloud listens, just behind the U.S. -- and Australia. The most popular SoundCloud posts: Sean Marks' introductory press conference leading with 747 and counting.
Within the past two weeks, Australia ranks second behind the U.S. and New Zealand fifth on the list. With more news from Marks as time progresses, we expect the numbers to grow again.
Jasmine, a reader of NetsDaily as well, said she's seen people rocking the Brooklyn Nets black-and-white, and even saw a fan sporting the Brooklyn Blue Nights jersey! She believes the Nets' fanbase is likely to grow with the hiring of Marks, emphasizing the average NBA fan may have some incentive to represent Brooklyn.
"I think it's probable," Jasmine said. "A lot of people are casual fans of basketball and the NBA, and this could help them to pick a team to root for."
During her first trip to see the Nets earlier this season, which was chronicled on her blog, she met Dawn and Johnson -- the heart and soul of Nets Nation, saw the players up close, took pictures with the Sarah Kustok, was featured on YES Network's "Wear Brooklyn At" feature, and was even given a shoutout from the Nets on Yes Twitter account, while thanking Producer Frank DiGraci for making it all possible.
Ironically, she visited Brooklyn when Lionel Hollins was fired and Billy King was reassigned, setting up the process that led to one of their fellow Kiwi's getting the big job ... and hopefully the beginning of a new fanbase growing nearly 8,000 miles away.
Now maybe, the addition of Trajan Langdon will lead to more fans in Alaska!