Britain could become basketball’s latest global outpost

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FOR ONE night a year the O2 Arena, London’s biggest indoor stadium, belongs to basketball. On January 11th the 20,000-seat venue hosted its eighth regular-season fixture since 2011, between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, the former of whom are genuine championship contenders this season in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The topsy-turvy game, which the 76ers led by 22 points in the second quarter before the Celtics secured a 114-103 comeback win, was far from the only delight for the many fans experiencing their first match. With relentless music, cheerleaders, t-shirts being launched into the crowd and NBA legends walking out to salute the crowd during time-outs, the spectacle was somewhat more vibrant than a typical night of British sporting entertainment. 

The country seems ripe for a basketball invasion. Tickets for the match sold out in 52 minutes, hampered only by a struggling website. The cheapest ones available via resale on the day of the game cost £500 ($684). Away from the glamour of the NBA, the…Continue reading

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