Basketball is a very popular team sport played all across the world. The game has its origin in the United States. The game was invented by James Naismith in 1891. The rapid growth of basketball during the 1920s and 1930s at American high school and college levels attracted world wide interest in basketball competition.
The NBA (National Basketball Association) – the basketball association in US – is one of the most popular basketball associations. The NBA has most number of players and some of the best teams. However, there are other leagues and other players in the International basketball arena.
FIBA (Federation of International Basketball Association) is the governing body of all the basketball leagues in the world. FIBA is the highest body that is responsible for establishing the rules for the game, scheduling international basketball events and deciding the venues for all world championship basketball games. Besides, FIBA also defines the specifics of the equipments used in the game, facilities required and regulates the transfer of players across countries and also looks after the appointment of International referees.
The Federation of International Basketball Association governs 73 international teams. International basketball can be mainly divided into six regions: North America, Latin America, Oceanic, Asia, Europe and Africa. Each of these 6 regions consists of its own separate leagues and holds different championships.
The strongest basketball league in the International arena is the Euro league. There are plenty of basketball leagues in Europe such as the Adraitic League, Eurocup and the VTB league. The Euro League is considered to be European equivalent of the NBA. The Euro league comprises of 24 teams with playoffs and all teams compete for one major Championship. All the major players in Europe play in this league and compete against each other. The teams in NBA keeps a close tab on the Euro league matches and picks up the best players to play in NBA teams.
Currently there are about 94 international players from different countries playing in the NBA, with a majority of players coming from the Euro league. Some of the biggest names playing in NBA come from outside America. Players like Yao Ming, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, and Andrew Bogut are hugely popular in NBA; all of them are players from outside America.
Just as European players feature regularly in the NBA basketball games of late, several American players have also started participating in the European Leagues. With a view to expose the local players to International stars and improve their skills and make career advancements, the European League is encouraging foreign players to come and play with the European teams.