The NBA will take another step toward growing its global popularity Thursday when the Milwaukee Bucks face the New York Knicks in London, but Commissioner Adam Silver has much grander plans for the future.
According to Owen Gibson of The Guardian, Silver is a proponent of European expansion. While Silver admits that doing so would be tougher for the NBA than the NFL, he believes it can be done if the league ultimately puts four teams in Europe rather than just one:
It will be easier logistically for them [the NFL] to pull it off. It would be difficult for us to have one team in Europe. We'd have to put both feet down. That would mean having four franchises in Europe. ... We're not there yet. I know that as much growth as we've seen, we have a long way to go before we can sustain four franchises in Europe. On the other hand, I believe it's our manifest destiny to expand.
Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated weighs in on the impact of the NBA's desire to expand to Europe:
European expansion has been a hot-button issue in several major American sports leagues. There are obvious advantages involved since it would help grow the game, but the challenges are immense as well.
Silver's logic seems to be that putting several teams in Europe would help with the potential travel issues. At the same time, that would be a huge undertaking for the league.
If his comments are any indication, he seems quite serious about exploring the viability of it.
Silver appears to believe that it is the NBA's duty to grow the game of basketball globally, and it will be interesting to see if this initiative picks up steam in the upcoming years.
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