Basketball was invented in the United States in 1891 by James Naismith. Since then, it has grown to become one of the most popular and most-watched sports in the world.
The first professional basketball league was formed in 1898 and played its first season with teams from New York City, New Jersey, Wilmington, and Delaware. However, it soon faced some obstacles, which interfered in all activities ending in the middle of the 1903-04 season after some teams dropped out and a coach sacked an entire team. In 1946, the National Basketball Association was founded, contributing greatly to the growth of the sport in the country.
Since its invention in the United States many years ago, basketball has spread to over 100 countries globally, and with each country having its league, you might begin to wonder which one is the best. Maybe you are even curious to know if the popular NBA is still the best. For punters who are used to betting only on the NBA odds because of the league’s popularity, you might be tempted to try top leagues after going through this list.
The following is the list of the top five basketball teams in no particular order:
1. The Euro League
The Euro League is the equivalent of football’s Champions League. Players from other European leagues compete during the week, while teams play their league games during the weekends. This league runs from October to April of each year.
It’s no surprise that the Euro League is on the list. The competition presents a lot of talent and professionalism, and players outside the NBA see it as a way of breaking in. Also, in terms of game attendance, the league is among the top in the world.
Teams in the league are champions in their domestic league or other competition, so it’s no doubt that it’s one of the best.
2. Spain’s LIGA ACB
This Spanish Basketball League is one of the best in Europe. Even though the league has been affected a bit by some financial issues arising from the country’s economy in recent times, one can’t deny that it remains one of the best anywhere in the world.
In the Euro League, FIBA’s Champions League, and EuroCup, the Spain Liga ACB has five, four, and three teams. It shows the quality available of the competition.
The Liga ACB attendance is one of the highest globally, which undoubtedly means it has a large fanbase.
3. FIBA’s Basketball Champions League
The Basketball Champions League is a professional basketball league organized by the International Basketball Federation. Teams that qualify for the competition must have performed well in their domestic leagues and cups.
The league features talented professional players and dedicated fans, and the winner qualifies to play in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup (also known as FIBA World Cup for Champions Club).
4. Russia’s VTB United League
Russia’s VTB United League is the top-level domestic league in Russia, and it unites teams from Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan (hence the “United” in the name).
This league has been one of the best in Europe for a long time, and CSKA Moscow, the giant there, having won every Championship except one, is recognized as one of the top basketball teams in the world.
Although Russia’s weather seems to be a problem during the basketball season, the league is able to attract top talents from other European countries. And in terms of salaries, they fare well compared to their European counterparts.
5. The National Basketball League
It’s no surprise to find the NBA on this list, as it’s undoubtedly the best basketball league in the world in terms of professionalism and finance.
Every basketball player dreams of playing in this league because of the following reasons:
Players in the NBA are of different quality. You’d hardly find any player lacking in terms of speed, talent, and size, making games more competitive, unpredictable, and entertaining for fans worldwide.
The NBA is not just basketball but one of the best-run sports leagues globally. There are always new developments and growth in the league, and the management seems to care for the players more.
It was evident during the Coronavirus pandemic when the league was shut down after Rudy Gobert, a player, tested positive for the virus, and other leagues followed suit.
The NBA generates billions every season. It’s among the highest-earning sports competitions in terms of revenue, attendance, monetizing kits, etc. More revenue means players tend to earn more.
In soccer, most times, only the strikers attract the most awards. Defenders and other athletes who put their bodies on the line to save goals aren’t recognized with enough merit awards, and it’s the same with the NFL.
However, in the NBA, everyone can receive an MVP award; in fact, each position has a minimum of three MVP winners. The NBA approach gives everyone a chance to win an award in their position without wishing they become the quarterback.
Every league has its flaws and merits, which is normal, and there will always be room for growth. However, at the time of writing, the leagues highlighted above are the best in basketball.
They have some of the best players, structure, organization, and their games always give fans ample entertainment and excitement.