NBA Going Global…At Least Trying To

International stars Andrea Bargnani and Sasha Vujacic battled it out at the O2 arena in London

The Toronto Raptors lost their franchise player in the off-season. The New Jersey Nets set the record for the worst start to an NBA season last year going 0-18 before getting their first victory. With that in mind, you have to ask why the NBA would choose those 2 teams to play the first ever regular season game in Europe. Why would the NBA ever think that this would be best way to build their brand overseas?

On Friday, the NBA played its first ever regular season game in Europe at the O2 arena in London, England. This endeavour is all part of Commissioner David Stern’s attempt to make the NBA a more global phenomenon. However, like the NFL, the NBA is going about this all wrong.

You think they would have learned from the majority of terrible games that the NFL has showcased internationally. Of the 5 games that the NFL has played outside of North America, only 1 of those games has been worthy of spending 3 hours of a Sunday watching. The Bronco-49er game this past season may have ended up being a good game, but the sound of Kyle Orton and Troy Smith facing off against each other doesn’t really make me jump for joy.

I can see why the Raptors were picked to play this game. They have a serious international flavour to their team. Most notably Andrea Bargnani (Italy), Jose Calderon (Spain), and Leandro Barbosa (Brazil). Not to mention the natural connection that many Englanders could possibly feel towards their commonwealth nephews. Still, with Bosh departing for South Beach there was no doubt that the Raptors would struggle this season.

The Nets, on the other hand, are just a confusing choice. The NBA was incredibly lucky that the Nets front office pulled off the unthinkable by acquiring Deron Williams because without him these past two games in London would have lost whatever small amount of lustre that it had.

It’s never a good sign when the biggest story of your team’s season is Kim Kardashian.

If the NBA wants to continue with this global expansion they have to fully commit to it because otherwise there’s no point. It’s obvious that they don’t want to burden possible contending teams like Boston or LA with a mid-season trip overseas. Seriously, you think Phil Jackson wouldn’t be mouthing off about the distraction of a London trip in March?

The atmosphere in London for the Raptors and Nets was comparable to a College atmosphere. Fans were chanting and doing the wave, but imagine what the atmosphere could have been like if the games had held any actual significance.

Sure, the two games’s sold out but that really isn’t that big of an accomplishment for a stadium that holds just under 19,000. Some fans are just so desperate to see NBA ball in person that it doesn’t matter who is playing. When exhibition games come to town in Vancouver the games sell out in a flash simply because there are a lot of people who need their fix of real basketball, not that an exhibition game exactly qualifies as real basketball. At least the games in London were both regular season games.

The NBA was bailed out this weekend. Fans at the O2 arena were treated to one good game and another exhilarating one, possibly the best of the year. You can thank the Raptors run and gun style as well as their 105 plus points allowed per game defence for that. The Raptors have put up some real stinkers this year, hence the 17-46 record. However, the Raptors shot very well this weekend and displayed lots of energy while the Nets were up for the challenge.

Very fortunate because I’m pretty sure the goal of this London trip wasn’t to showcase what the majority of the NBA really is. An overabundance of perennial bottom feeders that are unable to compete with the elite teams.

If the NBA wants to do this again next season they need implement a couple of games that mean something. If international is what the NBA wants it then meaningless basketball is not what the NBA should give.

The NBA was let off the hook this weekend by two teams energized at the idea of making history but if they try to pull this again next year the result probably won’t be as favourable.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. You can also follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favor.

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About Chris Ross
Questions, comments, suggestions? Send yours to cross_can15@hotmail.com. Follow me on twitter @paintstheblack

6 Responses to NBA Going Global…At Least Trying To

  1. chappy81 says:

    Well, at least they got to see one really good game. Lopez finally broke out of his shell and decided to play defense and rebound for once. I thought it was funny how the crowd reacted to stuff. Some times they’d clap for no reason haha!

  2. Hey, you’ve got to give credit to David Stern. Who else would put a regular season game in London? Even if it was a bad matchup, you’ve got to start somewhere, and not have the Heat vs. the Celtics or something: It wouldn’t make a difference.

  3. tophatal says:

    Chris

    It’s all well and good the game going global but how’d you account for so many team in the league with sever financial difficulties even in the wake of Stern’s $ 500 million bailout to fifteen of them last year ? Never mind the fact that they’ve borrowed at least $1. 2 billion alone from various financial institution in the last decade alone allegedly to fund building of new venues amongst other things . The problem facing the league isn’t simply just an image problem but also a financial one as well. Their business template is a mess and the NBA owners just like their NFL counterparts have become way too greedy !

    tophatal ……………..

  4. Bheise says:

    Well the Nets do have Mother Russia paying their bills now with Mikael Prokerov so maybe that’s why they were shosen to play in this game. The other reason it makes sense is because maybe these were the only two teams that were desperate enough to go overseas. Niether is really all that popular stateside so any chance to spread their individual brand, sell some t-shirts, and make extra bank was probably good enough for them. But for the NBA as a whole you have to wonder what they were thinking exactly. maybe they were just the two teams fartherst east that had a schedule that worked out so perfectly.

    I also find it funny that i didn’t realize these games were being played in England until the following day on sportscenter. Way to market stuff NBA,

  5. tophatal says:

    Chris

    The Kings move to Anaheim and the Maloofs (owners of the Kings) say that the organization is hemorrhaging red ink but they’re not yet willing to sell the team . Truth be told they’re looking for the right offer . Oracle founder Larry Ellison might be the guy bearing in mind he couldn’t pry the Warriors away from Chris Cohan with a near $400 million bid . LOL,LOL LOL, !!!

    The only thing worthwhile ’bout the game in London was that the fans actually got off their a_ses to do the wave . I’m an English born and raised now living stateside .in C Florida .

    Does this mean that Goodell should there be a lockout will look to get scab players from the UK to come here to the US in order to have an NFL season should there indeed be a lockout ? LOL ,LOL ,LOL !!! How many god-damn ways can you split $ 9 billion ($9,000,000,000) ?

    tophatal …………..

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