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The NBA Is Truly An International League

The NBA recently solidified plans to create a professional league in Africa, it's first league outside of the United States. It currently hs a NBA Academy in Africa to develop the continent's top players, as well as a developmental league in the US. This got me thinking of just how popular the game of basketball is around the globe, and what a business and global brand opportunity the NBA has - and they seem to be focused on that and ready to keep taking advantage.

As of opening night of the 2019-2020 season, there were a hefty 108 international players on NBA rosters from 38 countries. These are not bench warmers either, 4 of the 5 players who won the NBA performance awards were international players - Giannis Antetokuonmpo (Greece) won the MVP (and might win it again this year); Luka Doncic (Slovenia) won the rookie of the year; Pascal Siakam (Cameroon) won most improved player; and Rudy Gobert (France) won the defensive player of the year.

I very much enjoy watching the NBA's international stars, but especially the European players. They are typically so well-rounded and can shoot as well as pass, and usually give a significant amount of effort on defense. They truly embrace basketball as a team game, which is the brand of basketball I like most. In particular, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic are spectacular and are a threat to go for 40 points or a triple-double every time they step on the court. European competition is claerly stiff if the leagues over there are producing young talent of their caliber every year. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what talent arrives in the NBA from across the globe the next few years.

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