FIBA RANCOUR BAD FOR BASKETBALL, SAYS SILVER

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has urged FIBA to end their feuds with others in the game, including the Euroleague.

Speaking ahead of the Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers game in London, basketball’s most powerful figure admitted his discomfort at the myriad conflicts engulfing the sport’s global governing body which include legal cases involving leading clubs plus the recent wave of criticism from high-profile players over changes to the international calendar.

With FIBA understood to be laying off staff at its European office in Munich in recent weeks, there is increasing uncertainty over ending the internal battles for control.

And the NBA, which sits on the board of the Geneva-based body but also has long-standing ties to Euroleague, retains worries over the direction of travel.

“I do have concerns about that fractious relationship,” Silver told MVP. “We are in touch with both camps, so to speak, in terms of the Euroleague, and we are a member in good standing of FIBA. It’s not something that we like to see.

“We’re somewhat on the sidelines in terms of that controversy, and we recognise that there’s an awkwardness to the extent that the NBA seems to live under a different set of rules, and it seems to be just the reality of our league and the situation that we find ourselves in in terms of our players frankly not leaving for midseason breaks.

“All I can say is it’s our hope that they work those issues out. From a larger basketball standpoint, we recognise in order for the sport to continue to grow in Europe, you need more than a strong NBA. You need strong country leagues. You need strong pan-regional operations, similar to the Euroleague. And you need strong national teams. All of those things are important.

“But I also feel we’re very much outsiders to that dispute. As big a footprint as we have as the NBA, the politics are beyond complicated from my standpoint, even though, as I said, I’ve been with the NBA for 25 years. I’ve been an observer of it for a long time.”

Representatives from both sides of the dispute were together in London as part of a marketing conference with the NBA that shared knowledge and ideas.

Yet when the World Cup qualifiers resume next month, both NBA and Euroleague talents will again be absent – with little present hope of resolving the current impasse over the issue with Europe’s leading teams.

“One of the members who’s actively engaged in that dispute happened to say to me today, ‘the two World Wars were started in Europe’,” Silver revealed. “I smiled, but I only said, Let’s find a way to bring peace in the land and find a way to resolve these disputes.

“Because ultimately just in the same way we’re working with Basketball England and working with our junior programmes here, it’s important for the youth in the markets that they see strong national teams, it’s important that they see strong club play just like we see with football here.

“If there’s more of a role we can play, we’re happy to do that. Mark Tatum, our deputy commissioner of the NBA, is here. He’s a board member of FIBA. We know all the people involved, and we’d like to see the dispute worked out.

“But I will also say we believe in national team competition. We know that’s important as well. I can tell you from many of the international players who participate in the NBA, they have told me but for strong national team programmes, they might never have gotten involved in the sport when they were younger. That’s where things stand.”

 

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