European professional basketball features a complex landscape with ongoing tensions between the Euroleague Basketball competition and FIBA’s Basketball Champions League. This guide delves into the history behind the divide, how it impacts top clubs and players, and the elusive search for a collaborative system to unify European basketball.
With the aim of providing clarity to the complicated yet captivating world of European basketball, this guide is essential reading for anyone interested in the sport.
History of FIBA and Euroleague
The Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) has organized international basketball competitions in Europe since 1932. FIBA established the European Champions Cup in 1958, which later became known as the FIBA EuroLeague. In 2000, the leading European clubs broke away to form their own Euroleague Basketball competition. This led to over a decade of disputes between FIBA and Euroleague Basketball over control of the top European club basketball league.
Euroleague Basketball Today
Euroleague Basketball now operates the premier EuroLeague, which features 18 of the top clubs across Europe. These clubs, which hold “A Licenses,” get automatic entry into the EuroLeague. Euroleague Basketball also runs the EuroCup, a secondary competition.
FIBA Responds with Basketball Champions League
After failed attempts to regain control in the 2000s, FIBA launched its own Basketball Champions League (BCL) in 2016 to compete with Euroleague Basketball. The BCL has since expanded to 40 teams across Europe.
Threats of Suspension for National Teams
The ongoing rift has led to threats from FIBA to suspend national basketball federations whose clubs play in Euroleague Basketball competitions. In 2016, 14 federations faced possible suspension ahead of EuroBasket 2017. This included powerhouse basketball countries like Spain, Italy, Greece, and Lithuania.
Collaboration Remains Elusive
Despite proposals from both sides, FIBA and Euroleague Basketball have yet to reach a collaboration agreement. This ongoing divide has made it more challenging to balance club and national team commitments for players.
Impact on NBA Players in Europe
The dispute could also impact NBA players who play for European countries during the offseason. In 2017, the NBA announced it would not release players for FIBA qualifying windows. Euroleague Basketball soon followed suit, refusing to release players as well. This could make it harder for NBA stars to play in Europe amidst the FIBA vs. Euroleague rift.
The divide between FIBA and Euroleague Basketball has created a complex basketball landscape in Europe. Top clubs and players are often caught in the middle. While efforts have been made on both sides, the future remains uncertain. One thing is clear – European basketball would benefit greatly from a unified system. But reaching an agreement continues to be an elusive final buzzer.
The Odds of the Knicks
Speaking of elusive victories, New York Knicks fans have endured their fair share of losing seasons. According to the latest NBA futures odds, the New York Knicks odds of winning the 2023 NBA Finals sit at +10000. Those longshot odds illustrate the ongoing challenges facing the storied yet struggling franchise.
The ongoing divide between the Euroleague and FIBA continues to shape the European basketball scene. Top clubs and players often bear the brunt of the tensions. Despite sporadic efforts at reconciliation, a unified system remains out of reach. While the future path is unclear, one certainty is that European basketball would tremendously benefit from the two entities setting aside their differences. But overcoming the historical rift to work together likely remains, to borrow basketball terminology, a longshot.