Hello, friends. Did you enjoy the draft last night? I certainly did. But not because I’m a basketball fan — although I am — but because I love watching clocks tick down to zero. There is no finer night on television for that (since Guy Fieri’s FOX game show Minute to Win It was canceled).
Friends, if you’re like me, your mind races when you’re watching Andy Katz or Jalen Rose blather on about what team’s going to pick who and who’s still good in the draft pool, last night I began wondering about those who don’t get drafted. Sure, we often hear about players “playing overseas,” but what and where are these leagues? I did some research and am pleased to answer that question for you today. Behold; here are the top overseas basketball leagues. You’re welcome. And have a great weekend.
5. ACB League — Spain
One of the most premiere leagues outside the United States, Spain’s ACB League has brought us names like Ricky Rubio Pau and Marc Gasol and Jose Calderon. Barcelona and Madrid traditionally have the strongest ACB League teams, having between them taken six of the last seven league championships. Players in the ACB League get good looks from NBA brass and a good showing could be a ticket to the American bigs.
4. LNB Pro A – France
This French Basketball League began in 1921 and consists of eighteen distinct clubs, including Paris-Levallois (Paris), Strasbourg (Strasbourg), Le Mans (Pontiac), Boulogne-sur-Mer (Bologna by the Sea), Dijon (Mustard) and Nancy (Grace), among others. Tony Parker and Boris Diaw began their professional basketball careers playing for this league, in which there is no known translation for the English colloquialism “hit the showers” and popular halftime entertainment includes an act called “Vous Avez Une Femme Sexy, No?” (You have a sexy wife, no?) which consists of four fifty year-old Frenchmen chain-smoking and hitting on women in the audience.
3. Liga Nacional de BÃ¡squet — Argentina
Manu Ginobili is one of the most famous names to come from Argentina’s Liga Nacional de BÃ¡squet, (“National Basket Legs”), which features sixteen teams in its top division and is one of the world’s foremost exporters of soybean oil. During the Falklands War, National Basket Legs was defeated by the British but remains a viable opportunity for undrafted college basketball players in 2015. Argentinian professional basketball players are often at a disadvantage as their uniforms include traditional gaucho wear as ponchos and thick-woven cotton trousers called bombachas, which can make getting up and down the court difficult, and which is why Manu Ginobili still falls down so much.
2. CSKA Moscow —Russia
Former NBA All-Star Andrei Kirilenko still currently plays in Russia’s Central Sports Army Club Moscow, known as CSKA, where ruthless efficiency is the order of the day. Every pass is a straight shot to the numbers and the league champions are rewarded with a regulation-size bowl of traditional pickle-water-and-cabbage soup called solyanka with a cup of milk while the losers must move giant rocks and face the jeers of children. But CSKA Moscow’s motto says it all: “Basketball is strong for men, win with pride and muscle arms or die alone in sadness with no one who loves you.” It’s a very long motto.