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After Just 4 Years of Existence, The NBA Officially Decide to End the G League Ignite

Joe Paige | Sports Editor

In just four years of existence, the NBA has made the decision to officially shut down the G League Ignite program once this season ends. G League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim announced the following in a press release yesterday:

| "Four years ago, we started Ignite to fill a void in the basketball landscape, and I'm proud of the contributions we were able to make to that ecosystem. With the changing environment across youth and collegiate basketball, now is the right time to take this step. I want to extend my sincere gratitude to general manager Anthony McClish, head coach Jason Hart and their staff and to each player who wore an Ignite jersey. As ever, the G League's commitment to developing top NBA talent and helping players achieve their NBA dreams is unwavering."

The Ignite had found success in their first couple years, during their inaugural season in 2020 they would recruit top high school prospects Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga. Both players would become top 10 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, with Green selected second by the Houston Rockets and Kuminga selected seventh by the Golden State Warriors. Their top recruit the following year, Scoot Henderson, became the No. 3 pick in last years draft and currently plays for the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Ignite program was created at a time when no other American pro league offered a path for pre-draft eligible prospects to be compensated for playing prior to entering the draft. Considering the sudden rise of the NCAA's Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) policy, student-athletes now no longer need to enter the G League if they wish to be compensated for their talents. The team itself has also struggled greatly on the court as well, this season Ignite find themselves at the very bottom of the standings with just only two wins so far.

As of now, the G League Ignite have three players, Tyler Smith, Matas Bezels, and Ron Holland, who rank amongst the top 20 in ESPN's best available for the 2024 NBA Draft. If all three players get drafted in June, they'll become the last of Ignite's legacy to have successfully pipelined into the NBA. Joining a group of 10 other current players which include individuals like Milwaukee Bucks forward MarJon Beauchamp, Dallas Mavericks guard Jaden Hardy, New Orleans Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels, and more.


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