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How the NBL plans to expand through bringing NBA basketball to Australia

Uwear
|Feb 28|magazine11 min read

Is the National Basketball Association (NBA) ready to crossover Down Under?

When the NBA held its annual All Star game earlier this month in Toronto, Canada, the idea of inviting one of its franchises to make an appearance in Australia arose as one of the league’s long-term goals.

If it ever comes to fruition, perhaps Aussies will be able to see these types of spectacular plays from reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

According to National Basketball League (NBL) general manager Jeremy Loeliger, the two sides are focused on hosting an NBA preseason exhibition contest in Australia in the near future.

The NBA has previously help preseason games in China and Brazil, while it also held a regular season game in Mexico City earlier this season as part of the league’s Global Games initiative.

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However, due to the amount of time required to schedule as well as stipulations in the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), 2018 is the target date to get NBA teams to visit Australia.

“It’s certainly something we are actively pursuing,” said Loeliger. “The strength of the relationship with the NBA is stronger than its ever been. We’ve got to satisfy them that we are a reliable, bona fide, professional organisation here with the structure to pull off this grand plan.”

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In an effort to boost popularity during the offseason, the NBL has been in the process of putting together a team of the league’s best players for either an overseas tour or host a local tournament.

“We have got some pretty ambitious plans for the off-season,” he said. “We are getting significant traction there. Unless we can be really comfortable that we can do a fantastic job and deliver a product that world-standard quality, then we won’t do it.

 “But the indications are that these things will be done with the approval of all the international bodies.”

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While the NBL’s immediate expansion goal revolves around restoring the Brisbane Bullets after an eight-year hiatus, there is another goal of inviting professional teams from China and Philippines to compete against, as part of the NBL’s efforts to break into the Asian market.

In the near future, these teams from other parts of the Asia Pacific could become full members of the NBL.

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 “Our aims for the long term are on further expansion, not just in Australia, but potentially into Asia,” said Loeliger. “That’s somewhere we can play on our competitive advantages on many of the other sports in Australia. We are genuinely multicultural and played in just about every country.

“There’s no point doing anything half-heartedly. Every step we’ve taken has been constantly about building on the quality of the NBL.”

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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