There is no doubting the NBA and basketball in general is a global game. From China to Argentina to Japan, basketball is quite popular as fans wear their favorite player’s jersey, stay up late to catch NBA games, and passionately follow their favorite team.
There’s a great reason for this level of passion. Many contries have produced home-grown superstars. China has produced Yao Ming, Argentina produced Manu Ginobili, France produced Tony Parker, Germany produced Dirk Nowitzki, Spain produced Pau Gasol, and Puerto Rico produced J.J. Barea.
But one country is struggling to raise its standing in the basketball world and be recognized for its efforts – Great Britain.
British fans yearn for basketball but admit it the state of British basketball is weak. How weak? In a mini-documentary by Hoops Fix (see below), former NBA player John Amaechi says the British media ignores basketball and considers it bad. Funding gets pumped into rugby, and soccer and away from basketball. British basketball players have to leave England (see Luol Deng) and head to the United States to get recognized, thus diluting Britain’s standing in the basketball world. Moreover, basketball facilities are scarce and are not affordable. If you do want to play on an indoor court, you have to be a member of expensive sports clubs.
But as bad as that all may sound, British basketball is rising. The British basketball team will be represented at the 2012 London Games, the NBA now holds preseason games in England and much more.
For more on this grassroots effort, check out this solid mini-documentary on the state of British basketball.