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NBA starts talks to unify European basketball

The National Basketball Association said Friday that it had begun negotiations with world basketball body FIBA and the EuroLeague about unifying the game in Europe.

The organisation of basketball in Europe fractured in 2000 amid arguments over TV rights. 

“As part of our ongoing collaboration with both stakeholders, we recently were invited to engage in discussions about how we can work together to grow basketball in Europe. We look forward to participating in subsequent conversations moving forward,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.

The EuroLeague, the competition which features the continent’s best clubs, however strenuously denied a report in Spanish sports newspaper Marca that the talks were intended to create an “NBA Europe”.

“The subjects discussed in this meeting never included the creation of a division of the NBA in Europe,” EuroLeague said in a statement.

European players have made huge strides in the NBA. 

Among them, Dallas Mavericks’ Slovenian guard Luka Doncic is one of the league’s leading stars, German Dirk Nowitzki was a dominant player of his era and now-retired Frenchman Tony Parker was named to six NBA All-Star games. 

The last three league regular-season Most Valuable Player awards have gone to Europeans. Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo won in 2019 and 2020. Serbian Nikola Jovic won last year. Antetokounmpo was also playoff MVP last season when he led Milwaukee to the title.

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