The NBA returned to London at the O2, following in the steps of the incredibly successful NFL International Series programme.
With Olympic gold medallists Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, the stars were out in huge numbers.
The crowd contained the likes of Spike Lee, Thierry Henry, Ashley Cole (who was booed out of the arena) and others.
As usual for these one-off events, the atmosphere was electric, the crowd galvanic and the microphones, well the microphones weren’t working.
David Stern, commissioner of the NBA, pulled out all the stops to boost awareness of the NBA’s power in the world of sports.
The Piston’s cheerleaders brought the glamour, the ‘Flight Crew’ brought the wonder and Hooper, Detroit’s equine mascot, brought the humour.
Unfortunately, they also decided to let Alexandra Burke butcher our national anthem and Misha B (X Factor reject) do a half-time show. On a positive note, James Corden and Jack Whitehall did do a free-throw contest for the show League of their Own.
I won’t ruin the scoreline for anyone who watches the show but be warned the standard is extremely low. Like as low as standards can go.
The game itself was as one-sided as myself racing Usain Bolt over 100 metres, ie. it was a blow-out. It got to the point where the Knicks seemed to stop trying, a testament to the heights that Mike Woodson’s side have risen to.
A definite contender for the Finals, Melo’s first half was a joy to behold. He hit three-pointers for fun and tore the Pistons apart.
The majority of the crowd were supporting the Knicks, as was I, despite this being designated a Pistons home game.
It didn’t help the ‘home’ side that returning for the Knicks was the sophomore Iman Shumpurt and superstar Amar’e Stoudemire.
Despite a wonderful performance from guard Will Bynum, the Pistons weren’t at the races. Still a young team, I think the future’s bright for the team hailing from Motor City.
As for the NBA, basketball is a hugely popular sport in Europe and can definitely compete with the likes of Darts and Ice Hockey, but could struggle to beat out the more popular sports such as Rugby or Football.
Stern has made it clear he is looking to move/build a few franchises on the continent and in the British Isles but he will find it difficult to build a fan base.
The problem American leagues, such as the NFL, find is that enthusiasts already support a team and will be reluctant to just leave their club.
It may happen, if someone is willing and has the money to back their plans, normally it is relatively easy to realise but whether it would be a success to have NBA franchises here in Europe remains to be seen.