«The basketball pyramid needs to be built from the ground up – starting with the kids, students and amateurs»
The RMA «Sport Industry Management» program hosted a master class by Andrey Kirilenko, a legendary athlete who had recently headed the Russian Basketball Federation (RBF), gave a talk to the students of RMA business school about the strategic plans and goals of his team and answered multiple questions from the audience during the Q&A session.
«First and foremost, what me and my team had done after I’ve headed RBF, was to formulate our mission, and identify not only how we are going to work together, but, just as importantly, what are we working for. Which is something that could actually be the most important element of it all, — remarked Andrey Kirilenko.
So, to put it succinctly, our mission, as we defined it, was to popularize and promote basketball in Russia, advance it not just as a game, but as a lifestyle, to care - and I love this particular part - about the national teams and assist in building a solid and reliable reserve of players. In other words, our main priority is to popularize this sport among all of the people in the country.
It doesn’t, of course, mean that the matters of professional grade and building of dream teams would become secondary to us, but in order for us to begin building the proverbial basketball pyramid we have committed ourselves to begin our work right from the bottom, from the very foundation - the children in the ordinary schools, students and amateur adults. And we firmly believe that the wider the base of our foundation will be - the better will be the prospects of our professional league, eventually translating the improvement all the way our dream teams.
In this regard, one of our earliest goals is to establish a country-wide basketball database. Firstly, we need to conduct a basic audit in order to understand the actual condition of our basketball infrastructure, what do we actually have available to us to work with. And as the practical experience tells us - often what we see on the paper does not correlate with the actual state of things. For example, officially we have 400 basketball schools in the country, however, in practice only 170 of them are functioning and participating in various tournaments.
Secondly, he unified database need to include not only everyone who is playing basketball at any professional level, but also of anyone who is in one way or another interested in basketball at all, including the fans who attend games of any level. This will allow us to work with these groups in a much more precise and targeted way, than it has been done so far.», -- emphasized the head of RBF.