The growing appeal of British basketball as a pre and post NBA destination
Could the BBL be the new top European basketball destination for players around the globe?
Vince Macaulay, Head Coach of the London Lions, speaks on the teams long term plans and the growing appeal of the league.
Over the course of the decade, the British Basketball League has seen a flow of overseas players and NBA veterans bringing their talents to the league, showcasing exceptional levels of basketball and making a tremendous impact on the game here in the UK.
The NBA itself is a hundred billion dollar sports industry, with television deals worldwide, yet more and more players are now seeing the appeal of playing abroad. With a significant amount of investment towards the league and a plethora of talent choosing to showcase their ability here in the UK, could the BBL be the new desired European basketball destination for players around the globe?
12-year NBA veteran guard, DeAndre Liggins, is a prime example of a player who has really made his mark on the BBL. Since signing with the London Lion’s as a free agent back in July last year, Liggins has hit the ground running, playing a key role in the Lion’s dominant season and leading the league in BBL All-Star Five appearances with six.
Many NBA journeymen, such as Liggins, choose to play in the BBL due to the opportunities the league provides, such as more minutes each game and a greater role within a team. But, more and more so we are seeing an influx of collegiate players taking their talents to the European leagues, rather than the traditional college route, as a pre-NBA destination to bolster their draft stock.
In the recent NBA draft, three of the top ten draft picks were selected from foreign leagues, highlighting the growing appeal of playing abroad for both young players and experienced veterans. This is a true testament to the league and the future of British basketball which through investment, national media coverage and a growing roster of talent is set to compete on a global scale and be revived as one of the top European destinations for basketball.
Vince Macaulay, Head Coach of the London Lions:
“Our longer term plans of what we want the London Lions to be in the future; we want the Lions to play at the highest level of European basketball and be a place for top talent to come a play as a step into or down from the NBA.
“If you look at the drafts over the past ten years, and at the players who didn’t make the top 20 or 30 picks, how much worse are they than the players drafted in the first round? These players’ talents are almost wasted, as they simply don’t get enough minutes on the court to really showcase their game, so could they be better off playing abroad?
“These are the types of players that would be a great addition to the league and playing here would give them the experience needed to go onto play at the top level. The BBL provides a great level of basketball where players can work on their game and the skills required to compete in the NBA, for when they do finally make that transition.”