I’ve recently discovered I have access to a TV channel called Free Sports which, not surprisingly, shows sports without requiring a subscription (no sh*t Sherlock !).  Usually when a TV channel offers viewing for free it’s of a questionable quality so I was expecting nothing more than competitive shove ha’penny or co-ed dominoes so imagine my surprise when I came across European basketball on the form of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. The top 15 teams in Europe who are about to enter the playoffs for the Final Four in Belgrade.

Having now watched the likes of Panathanikos, FC Barcelona, FC Bayern Munich and Real Madrid (to name just 4) it has reinvigorated my desire to watch basketball on TV.  I find watching the NBA now tiresome, frustrating and disheartening.  The game that I love, that I learned in the 1980’s and that I COULD watch when the BBC showed the 1987 NBA Playoffs in the “good old days” is not what is being played in the NBA.  Too many times someone on social media will post a “phenomenal” play by the likes of James Harden or Lebron James but instead of marvelling at the dunk I find myself saying “That was a travel !”.  The officials in the States seem to be reluctant to enforce the rules of the game in favour of massaging the egos of the elite, treating basketball as entertainment rather than a sport.  In their defence (which is ironic, as I will explain later) because of the huge amounts of money involved in the NBA I guess that’s understandable but I would prefer to see the fundamentals of the game protected and supplemented by time-out/half time entertainment.

So, back to the Euroleague and the FOUR reasons why I prefer it to the NBA…

  1. They actually play defence. Ball movement is impressive; it has to be because the defenders shut down the passing lanes, smother the ball handler (more often than not full-court) and box out for rebounds.


  1. The standard of play is incredible. It’s not just jog down the court and let the 7’ player shoot the three (although all 10 players on the court seem to be capable of scoring from downtown).  Very physical play at full speed and all players on the team seem to be able to shoot free-throws.


  1. Watching the footage from O.A.C.A. Olympic Indoor Hall (home of Panathanikos) there is a constant soundtrack of heavy rock… the likes of Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne), Bad Boys Running Wild (Scorpions) and White Wedding (Billy Idol). A welcome addition to the fast-paced physicality of the game and personally more preferable to the hip-hop/rap culture in the NBA.


  1. At the start of the game, as the warm-ups come to an end and the spectators take to their seats, anxiously awaiting the tip-off, the players are introduced and each, in turn, takes to the court with just a high five to their teammates…. None of this kindergarten, childish handshake b*llsh*t that seems to have become prolific in the NBA (see my post of August 2, 2021). Much much more professional !


So, if you’re a true fan of the game take a moment, if you will, to check out the Euroleague basketball… you won’t be disappointed !  Oh, and a minor post script… Euroleague basketball has an impressive “beard to player” ratio too !