The NBA announced Tuesday that Gatorade has purchased naming rights to the NBA Development League (D-League), rebranding it as the NBA Gatorade League (G-League) starting in the 2017-18 season. 

The move marks the first title sponsorship of a U.S. pro sports league. In addition to purchasing the rights, Gatorade will be an increased presence in G-League locker rooms. This from the official NBA press release: 

Gatorade will incubate its latest product and equipment innovations into NBA G-League locker rooms, and teams will have the opportunity to collaborate with Gatorade to help players maximize their athletic potential and oncourt performance. ... [Gatorade Sports Science Institute] scientists will partner with the NBA G-League on player nutrition and training programs, incorporating the newest technology and innovations in Gatorade testing, product and equipment.

In this explanation, the G-League will not only develop players for the NBA, but also nutritional and training science, in theory. 

The move to package league products as branding platforms comes as the NBA approved selling corporate logos on jerseys starting next season. 

But renaming an entire professional sports league after its sponsor has drawn criticism.

Objectors fall into various camps. Some argue that the G-League sounds like a reference to the term "G," slang for ganster and associated with rap acts, unfit for a development league that has worked hard to gain legitimacy as basketball's minor league. 


Others object to what's viewed as selling an established brand in a money grab. 

Though many in this came have noted that NASCAR's top level competition is branded the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (previously the Sprint Cup Series). 

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