With the NBA taking teams off around the world to see the sights and appeal to basketball fans around the globe, there have been some interesting memos making their way out of NBA headquarters. While it is clear that all of the teams and players have been advised that they are to be ambassadors for the league when they are in a different country, it seems as though there needs to be a focus on some other elements. The big news for the Heat and Cavs players that are heading to Brazil is that they will have to be wary of what celebrations they use.
The thing is, celebrations are all part of the glitz and the glamour that comes with basketball these days. Players want to celebrate after scoring big points and fans want to see fun and interesting things unfold in front of them. Whether it is a chest bump, a clenched fist, a high five among team mates or a wave, some sign of excitement from a player after they dunk or sink a three-pointer is all part and parcel of the game these days.
The goggles celebration is a popular one amongst many basketball players and fans
One of the most common celebrations in recent times has been players celebrating by making the shape of goggles with their fingers. It isn’t the greatest celebration but when a player does the goggles sign, it is almost an indicator of “did you see that”, and the NBA crowds have responded well to it. However, with Saturday being the day when the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat in Rio de Janiero, both sets of players have been informed that this is not a suitable celebration in Rio because it is highly offensive in Brazil!
When you head off around the world, it is always worthwhile finding out some of the local cultures and traditions. This is because it can be enlightening to find out how other people but it is also important that you don’t do anything which may cause offence. If you do something that is likely to cause offence, you have to hope that people take it in good grace and realise that you didn’t understand the custom but clearly this is not something that the NBA is looking to take a chance with. The league is aiming to expand its fan base around the world and the last thing that they need is players celebrations being taken as an insult by the fans who have spent good money to come along and see a basketball match.
Both clubs have received a memo about the right sort of behaviour
It seems as though the Cavs and The Heat were both provided with a memo about which celebrations are not recommended and which gestures may mean something entirely different to a Brazil fan base.
It is not the first time that cultural differences have arisen in the NBA with some people taking offence to something that other people thought was perfectly fine. The Sacramento Kings had a couple of Serbian players, Peja Stojakovic and Vlade Divac, who celebrate a three pointer by using the three fingered salute. In Serbia, this is deemed to be a sign of pride but of course, to people who have a Muslim Croatian background, it is a symbol of the oppression they suffered from the Serbians. You can see how easy it is for some people to appreciate a gesture while others would be gravely offended by it, and this is something that the NBA is trying to avoid when some of the biggest names in the game head to Brazil.
Could you imagine the national outcry if someone like LeBron James made a rude or insulting gesture? You can see why the NBA is looking to avoid all controversy about this big game.