• Business Business

NBA initiative turns 'silent killers' into game-changing sports equipment — here's how it will benefit communities

Nets for Change eventually hopes to go global, harvesting even more abandoned fishing nets and turning them into basketball nets.

Nets for Change eventually hopes to go global, harvesting even more abandoned fishing nets and turning them into basketball nets.

Photo Credit: iStock

Neighborhood basketball courts across India are being revitalized thanks to an NBA initiative that is turning widely described "silent killers" into practical equipment.

Earlier this year, NBA India announced its game-changing "Nets for Change" program, which harvests ghost nets from our oceans and transforms them into nets for neglected basketball hoops. 

In addition to protecting crucial fishing grounds and marine ecosystems, the program hopes to empower underrepresented young female athletes to shine on the court, according to Trend Hunter. It also focuses on educating communities about the benefits of keeping our waters pristine. 

Millions of people in India depend on fishing for their livelihoods. Last year, the Press Information Bureau issued a media release highlighting the "significant" role the sector plays in the economy, with the country being the second-largest aquaculture-producing nation globally.

Fishing nets that tear and get lost in the waters — thus becoming ghost nets — can cause devastation to marine wildlife and create significant amounts of pollution. As 15-year veteran fisherman Vijay Chandi said in a video by Nets for Change, it has only gotten worse over the years. 

"It shouldn't be like this," he said. "It is our responsibility to keep it clean." 

According to the initiative, ghost nets, which also include abandoned or discarded items, account for 80% of marine pollution in India. More than 5,500 tons of ghost nets are washed back onto the shore annually. 

Since the nets typically contain plastic made from dirty fuels, they can leach harmful toxins into the ecosystems they pollute. Additionally, they are hazardous to wildlife, which can suffer injuries or die after getting tangled in the material. 

Now, the NBA is helping to unite local diving and fishing communities to retrieve the ghost nets and repurpose them into basketball nets. 

As basketball blogger Siddarth Sharma "sidbreakball" pointed out, nets on hoops may be able to do more for people's games than just provide aesthetic appeal. In fact, the greatest 3-point shooter of all time in the NBA spoke to Forbes about how he aligns his shot by focusing on the hooks at the bottom of the rim, where the nets are attached. 

"There are always three that are facing you no matter where you are on the court," two-time league MVP Stephen Curry told the outlet. "That's almost the width of the basketball."

Rajesh Menaria, from handmade basketball net company RR Neto Philia, explained to Sharma that he took inspiration from the superstar and also looks to the net when shooting. 

The Nets for Change initiative isn't the only NBA program to support a healthier and greener tomorrow. During the 2023-24 season, the league planned more two-game series and longer road trips, reducing pollution from travel and facilitating more rest time for players

NBA Green also announced that it reduced the use of plastic bottles in offices by 80%. Individual consumers can easily incorporate this practice into their daily lives as well.

Nets for Change, launched in collaboration with Leo Burnett Dubai and Publicis Groupe Middle East, eventually hopes to go global, with the Philippines next on the slate, according to Trend Hunter.

Join our free newsletter for cool news and actionable info that makes it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider