Europe vs. NBA: Will the Euroleague ever catch up with the NBA?

Since the 1992 Dream Team went over to Barcelona and dominated in the Olympics, basketball around the world has really  grown up over the last couple decades. In particular, Europe has matured significantly. The start of the 2017-18 NBA season saw a record number of European players (64) on opening night rosters.


All across the continent, clubs are seeing much more television coverage and attendance levels healthy. Even with their progress, will Europe always be *thought* of as a smaller brother to the NBA?

There are reasons for this of course. Despite its increasing popularity year-on-year, it is obvious that the sport has a long way of displacing football as the continent’s number one pastime; it’s just too ingrained. Football in Europe has reached religious status across most nations with players idolized, while many wouldn’t be able to name more than a couple of EuroLeague stars.

Differences Separate NBA, Euroleague

Basketball is one of the four big professional sports along with American football, baseball and hockey. And it’s still growing in its popularity. In the United States, it’s a growing part of the culture so that kids in the U.S.A. are much more likely to grow up shooting hoops at the park or in their driveway than they are kick a ‘soccer’ ball around as their European counterparts are.

That will inevitably lead to a strong base of talent emerging and the reason why the NBA and US National Team have remained strong despite the world making significant strides on the court. Not only that, there are fundamental differences between the European game and the game played across the Atlantic. NBA teams are increasingly relying on their superstars to dominate games. The European game, while still have many star players, still lean on a collective model, with the sum of the whole bigger than any of its individual parts. The NBA is more of an “free” game in that players are given leeway to abstract and the European game is much more rigid.


So it’s highly unlikely that any of the top European clubs will have a LeBron James or Stephen Curry for those same reasons — that level of talent would be muted in the European approach or star players would been snapped up by the NBA in 90% of those times. And though fans gravitate toward teams or clubs, they’re first drawn in by the players of the game and if the NBA has the most-dynamic whether because of talent or approach, that’s another vast differentiation between the two leagues.

Money is another detriment to the growth of the European game. Even the top clubs, such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and CSKA Moscow, cannot hope to pay their stars what they would receive in the NBA. It’s inevitable that the vast majority of talent will therefore go to the NBA.

This Isn’t Your Father’s Euroleague

Don’t mistake this for a Euroleague bashing article, as we’ve said, the league has grown exponentially. What the Euroleague may lack in relative-star power, European basketball makes up for in its competitiveness and rivalries. It is both a popular sport to watch, play or one on which to enjoy a flutter, with these free bet offers from Bethut on hand to guide you to all the best sites around.

The NBA has defined the sport of basketball and defined what makes for a successful player and league, so in that, the European game will never be on a par with the NBA. Much-maligned just twenty years ago, the league is now blossoming. The NBA is taking many of Europe’s biggest stars, a number that’s growing a little bit each year. The question isn’t really talent anymore, but can the Euroleague match the marketability and paychecks that the NBA offers? In other words, how can Europe keep rising European players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kristaps Porzingis and Nikola Jokic from leaving?

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