is without a question the best basketball league in the world. In fact, the NBA makes it hard to imagine the existence of other basketball leagues around the globe. The Olympics serve as the only reminder that basketball is in fact, played professionally beyond the borders of Red, White and Blue.
Despite the NBA’s popularity, many players have transferred from the USA to ply their trade in other international competitive leagues. This not only shows the appeal that these leagues have but also the potential they possess.
Let’s take a look at the following major leagues outside the USA.
Turkish Premier Basketball League
The Turkish league has been a breeding ground for basketball since its inception in 1960. The league has 16 teams and they play against each other twice, home and away games. The two bottom teams are relegated to the TBL (Turkish Basketball First League) and replaced by the top two teams of the league.
A few players from the Turkish Basketball League have transferred to the NBA and had illustrious careers such as Hedo Türkoğlu, who played in the NBA for 15 seasons. Enes Kanter of the New York Knicks and Mehmet Okur to name a few.
Lega Basket Serie A
Best known for its luxury super cars, fashion and football, basketball in Italy is just as an integral part of culture as anything else. In fact, Italy was one of the first countries in Europe to see the growth of basketball outside the USA. The Lega Basket Serie A was established in 1920 and has been the highest level of basketball in Italy since. Ranked the overall best league in Europe from 1958 to 2007 according to Euroleague Basketball records.
The Lega Basket Serie A is also one of the top destinations for aging NBA players to go once they reach the twilight of their career. The contracts are lucrative and guarantee that players will retire comfortably.
Chinese Basketball Association
The CBA or Chinese Basketball Association is the first basketball league established in China. It is also recognised as the best league in Asia. Since it’s established, the CBA has proved that China has the potential and ambition to produce world class players that have the ability to not only make it domestically but in the NBA as well.
Yao Ming is the most recognisable and arguably the most successful Chinese player to play in the NBA. Drafted into the NBA in 2002 after playing 5 years with the Shangai Sharks (which he now owns), he went on to be a success in Houston for the Rockets.
The Liga ACB, also known as Liga Endesa, is the top basketball division in Spain. It comprises of 49 teams and is famously known for producing some of the best basketball players to play in the NBA. The Gasol brothers (Pau and Marc), Luis Scola and Ricky Rubio are some of the Spanish players to grace the NBA.
Liga Nacional De Basquet
Also known as La Liga,
Liga Nacional De Basquet is the Argentine basketball league division which was established in the late 1980’s. Founded by basketball coach, Leon Najundel and sports journalist Osvaldo Orcasitas, Argentine basketball has gone on to give young players who aspire to play at the top a great platform to harness their talent.
The Argentine basketball team are famously known for defeating the USA’s “Dream Team” and winning gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
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