With multiple NBA games played internationally last week, the National Basketball Association has been able to expand its brand, reaching millions of fans globally each year. The sport’s popularity has grown because of it, becoming the world’s second most popular sport in the world behind soccer.
FIBA has 104 countries that have a National Men’s basketball team and interest throughout all continents is fairly strong when the NBA Finals takes place in June. When the time comes, it will be realistic for basketball to pull off a FIBA Club World Cup, which would capture the interest of every basketball fan around the world. Logistically, things are a bit too far-fetched. However, in the future it will be possible for basketball to invest in a Global Basketball League.
This will involve a little bit of everything: creativity, geography, and even a little dose of math which will make sense eventually. In the Global Basketball League (GBL), the teams would be divided into three conferences: USA, Americas and Europe.
The USA teams would include all the NBA teams minus the Toronto Raptors; Americas consisting of Canadian provinces (including the Raptors), Caribbeans and Latin America, and lastly Europe would make up all the team teams in Europe, obviously.
The chart for the teams/countries that would participate in this league is down below:
|Atlanta Hawks||Belo Horizonte||Atletico Madrid|
Golden State Warriors
|Los Angeles Lakers||San Juan||Munich|
|Los Angeles Clippers||Santa Cruz de la Sierra||Real Madrid|
|Memphis Grizzlies||Sao Paulo||Rome|
|Miami Heat||Toronto Raptors||Paris|
|New York Knicks||Vienna|
|New Orleans Pelicans|
|Oklahoma City Thunder|
|San Antonio Spurs|
Teams that don’t have a name in front of them are expansion franchises or club teams that already exist.
As far as the layout of the conferences in the regular season goes, here is what I’ve compiled that makes the most logical sense. The Americans and Europe would each have 48-game seasons with eight teams qualifying for the playoffs. In contrast, USA would play a 56-game season with 16 teams making the playoffs.
It’s important to note that USA’s conference has more games because they have less mileage to travel, and of course more teams, which therefore provides more playoff teams. Another thing to consider is that there is no inter-league play until the GBL Finals. The GBL Finals would consist of a four-team Final that includes the winner of each conference, plus the host team. Each conference gets to host the Finals every three years.
To make the league as competitive as possible, your citizenship will dictate what conference you play for. In that regard, all international players would instantly become free agents. This would be the rule because there’s still good American players that are stuck in Europe or on D-League rosters forever and are never heard from again after exhibiting a stellar college career.
This format is also in place to ensure teams have a chance to get to the Finals one day through bidding to be a host city. Afterwards, there would then be three drafts in June that would guarantee that Euro players would be drafted into European teams and the Canadian/Latin American players would be drafted in their league, as well.
Playoffs would be a best-0f-seven series, with the entire duration lasting until the early portion of June, very much comparable to the NBA’s current playoff format. Fewer games would decrease the ware and tear on the players and would allow them to play for their respected country in FIBA’s world championship that will be introduced next year.
Like I noted above, a format like this is seemingly a long shot of occurring. However, if basketball wants to take the next step in becoming a powerhouse globally, then this will be a possible avenue to explore.