NBA Commissioner David Stern Has Cooled On NBA's European Expansion Talk
There was a time when NBA Commissioner DAVID STERN "had dreams of a team or even a division in Europe, a first in American sports," according to Gary Washburn of the BOSTON GLOBE. Stern was "determined to devise a way" for a group of teams in London, Rome, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona and Berlin to compete with the 30 stateside NBA teams and even have a real world championship series. That idea "seems to have fizzled along with the int'l economy and the lack of NBA-worthy venues overseas." What Stern realized is that many of the Euroleague arenas "are not up to NBA standards." Watching the Boston Celtics take on Emporio Armani Milano last week in Milan, Stern said, “I don’t think having a single team in Europe is practical. What I’ve said is if we’re going to have an NBA presence here in terms of the league, it should be five teams. It’s safe to say that there aren’t enough buildings, there aren’t adequate TV arrangements, we don’t have owners, and I’m not sure we could charge the prices that would be necessary." Stern said that part of the problem is European cities "are not financially prepared to build arenas to house anything more than an exhibition game." Stern seems to be satisfied "playing exhibition games and perhaps one or two regular-season games per year overseas." Aside from that, however, the NBA’s "flirtation with Europe appears done" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/14).