Each week, we'll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
Julius Erving recently sold the rights to his name and image to a N.Y.-based marketing group. Question for you: Who's name and image would you invest in? Why?
David Aldridge, NBA.com: Stephen Curry seems to be the armor-plated gold standard at present. With the possibility/likelihood of more championships down the line, he'll be a long-term face on the scene, with the ability to cross over to non-sports properties. Bottom line: people love this guy.
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Since Joey Crawford's off the table, give me Karl-Anthony Towns. The young Minnesota big man seems to have it all, his trajectory already pointing him toward great things. His skill set is remarkable -- I'm not sure there's a big man in the NBA I'd choose over him right now, if I were a GM thinking about the next 7-10 years. He seems driven to tap his full potential, he's got a bright, accessible personality, he's even got a marketable nickname/acronym (KAT). Russell Westbrook is poised to blaze across the NBA like a meteor this season, with clear crossover ambitions in fashion and marketing, but he's been a bit polarizing to this point. Towns, in my view, is the NBA's next big thing.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: I'm assuming you're looking for current NBA figures. So I'll go with Steph Curry. The addition of Kevin Durant will keep the Warriors prominent at the elite level for at least a handful of years and Curry's unmatched shooting ability and embraceable personality makes him a promoter's dream.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Gregg Popovich. Is there a more-trusted name in the game? The marketing opportunities would be like winning a Powerball mega-jackpot. If he says Earth is not round, Earth is not round. Or I'd put his image next to a very expensive product and stare down customers until they crumbled under the pressure and bought two.
Shaun Powell, NBA.com: One name: Jerry West. If there was a way to gain ownership of The Logo and charge the NBA each time it's used in merchandise, uniforms, etc., etc. ... well, allow me to start shopping for a beachfront pad in Manhattan Beach right now.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Karl-Anthony Towns is the real deal. He's an impact player on both ends of the floor, a future MVP, and a 20 year old with a good head on his shoulders. I'll take a piece of his future.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: LeBron James anyone? There isn't a more valuable name brand in basketball right now other than maybe Michael Jordan. I know he's had a couple of players (Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry) challenge him for the top spot over the past few years, but he remains the touchstone player of his generation and will no doubt remain relevant around the globe long after his playing career ends. For all he's accomplished on the court, LeBron's has been just as diligent about expanding his reach off the court with his other endeavors (in Hollywood and boardrooms, in particular). LeBron's a long-term investment that will pay off handsomely for years to come.
Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: No disrespect to Dr. J, but I'm not investing in anyone's name. These days that is like building on swampland or buying waterfront in Venice. Nobody's name is safe in this social-media environment. Scandals, real and false, lurk everywhere. The celebrity marketplace has become too volatile -- the roulette wheel in Vegas is a safer bet!
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com: There are a few younger players out there who I think have super-bright futures ahead of them on and off the court, includingBen Simmons and Anthony Davis. But for me, I'd go all-in on Karl-Anthony Towns. He's already one of the best big men in the NBA on one of the more exciting younger teams, plus he has a great personality and the ability to connect with younger kids for marketing and off-court purposes. If we could buy stock in players, I'd be hoarding Towns' future.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.