David Stern, who has presided over the NBA as its commissioner for almost 30 years, has a dream he thinks will be fulfilled within 20 years: at least one NBA team in Europe. When asked about the possibility, Stern was optimistic:
I think so … I think multiple NBA international teams. Twenty years from now? For sure. In Europe. No place else. In other places I think you’ll see the NBA name on leagues and other places with marketing and basketball support, but not part of the NBA as we now know it.
This is not a new dream for Stern; he once envisioned a team called the London Abbeys in the NBA. Ostensibly the idea never came to fruition because of the lack of a properly sized arena and the souring of the European economy.
Those championing the idea assert that the 7 ½ hour trip from New York to London is not much more than the 6 hour trip from New York to Los Angeles, but they are ignoring the fact that when teams from one coast cross the country to play another in basketball and baseball, it is not for one game; there is a whole road trip scheduled because the games are played too closely together to allow the teams to fly back and forth.
Stern has always been marketing-savvy, but he wants to be regarded as a visionary too, like Walter O’Malley of the Los Angeles Dodgers was for introducing West Coast baseball as a concept.
But with the state of the world’s economy being what it is, Stern, who is a big fan of Barack Obama, and unconsciously offered a capsule comment about Obama’s political machinations when discussing his basketball skills, saying, “He’s not that good … He’s a lefty, he goes the same way every time”, won’t see his dream work unless his political buddies stop running capitalism into the ground.