Mensah-Bonsu, 36, spent two years as an executive with the upstart franchise, which operates under the same Monumental Basketball umbrella as the Wizards and WNBA’s Washington Mystics. Though the Go-Go has a sharply defined mission as a developmental program for young players and coaches in the Wizards’ system, the G League does not have quite as clear of an outlook for the foreseeable future.
Because of the pandemic, the G League suspended its 2019-20 season along with the NBA’s in March. But while the NBA will restart its season with 22 teams playing in a bubble environment near Orlando this month, the G League officially canceled its season in June.
The NBA playoffs are scheduled to end in October, followed by a free agency period and a hopeful start date for the 2020-21 season around Dec. 1. The G League, however, has no scheduled start date for its upcoming season, and it could be as late as January 2021.
This uncertainty factored into Mensah-Bonsu’s decision not to extend his contract with the Go-Go and instead follow other opportunities — although he would have been in the organization’s plans for next season, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
The Go-Go turned to Mensah-Bonsu to guide it through its first two seasons, bringing in a well-traveled player whose basketball roots sprouted in north London.
Mensah-Bonsu, a member of the George Washington Athletics Hall of Fame, went undrafted out of college but carved out a professional career for almost a decade. He made his NBA debut for the Dallas Mavericks in 2006 and went on to play for four other teams over parts of three additional seasons. He also spent time in what was then known as the NBA Development League, played on the British national team at the 2012 Olympics and finished his pro career overseas.
He retired as a player in 2015 and worked as a regional representative with the National Basketball Players Association before joining the San Antonio Spurs in 2016 as an advance pro scout. In 2019, Mensah-Bonsu participated in events leading up to the launch of the Basketball Africa League. Concerns over the coronavirus postponed the league’s inaugural season.
“Since I retired,” Mensah-Bonsu said in 2018 after being hired by the Go-Go, “I always wanted to take the road less traveled in regards to life after basketball.”
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