The talks about a NBA Europe Division to be held by David Stern were the awaited bla-bla. A division within a decade. That’s pretty concrete stuff.
It has been a discussion for now over a decade already about planning a NBA Europe, a European division for the NBA or whatsoever. While hardcore Euroball fans don’t like the idea at all, the media seem to love it and also the common European NBA fan starts to dream about seeing LeBron James live in action in London, Madrid or Berlin. But what such words by David Stern are worth, we know already.
It will take a little longer than 2010 but it would be great for everyone. It wouldn’t surprise me [that there might be] a very strong international presence. Realistically, if there are new buildings in Europe and if our sport continues to grow, there is a good possibility that there would be NBA franchises in Europe by the end of the decade.
We really are thinking more about expansion teams in Europe in the decade. What we’ve always said was that if there were the appropriate arena structure, if there were the appropriate fan affinity, and there was the pricing structure that would be necessary for a team to compete in the NBA, then it would seem to be an opportunity for us to grow.
Stern really tries to create some hope for the International NBA fans by talking about a significantly imprecise date (within a decade) to get some attention in Europe and keep the fan base alive. But honestly, I don’t believe in this. And I don’t like it to happen. They can come with their preseason games to the different European cities, that’s nice. But I can really not imagine major US-born basketball stars to settle down in Europe. For some, even Vancouver or Toronto is too far away.
But what has this to do with National league you may ask. When I read these comments by Borislav Stankovic, the former FIBA big boss, I had some doubts about the future of European basketball.
Due to the interests of Serbian basketball I’ve always been against our clubs joining the Adriatic league.
I don’t know exactly why Stankovic is against the Adriatic League and especially against the Serbian teams playing there. But it would be quite a big loss for this league to see their Serbian teams move out. With the former NEBL going down, is this now a possibility to see the Adriatic League die also?
So on the one hand, you have major economically strong leagues like the NBA that want to create their own Marketing machine based Superdivision in Europe while the smaller local interregional leagues seem to die. What is the future for European basketball?
I like the Euroleague, even if not everything is perfect. Multiple discussions have been done already how to improve the cohabitation of the different European competitions and the rumors about a possible integration of the FIBA competitions in the ULEB scheme sound interesting. But the nationalization and ultra local decision making in some leagues (Adriatic league minus Serbian teams; France seriously discussing to increase the teams in ProA to 20; German league to refuse a decrease of the number of teams from 18 to 14 in order to increase the level;…) seem to remain a huge handicap to develop a strong power beside the almighty NBA.