Who cares if the entire country stinks at basketball (except Luol Deng)? It's closer to the States than continental Europe, there's no language barrier and the city just hosted the Olympics. Hey, who wouldn't want to live in London? We can see it now: In 2033, LeBron James Jr., the 28-year-old superstar free agent, announces that he's leaving Cleveland, where he's played his entire career, and taking his talents to Brighton Beach.
NBA commissioner David Stern said in a radio interview last week that the league will have "multiple NBA international teams" in Europe within 20 years. If so, that will be long after Stern steps down as commish in 2014, but it's an intriguing possibility. Here's our vision for the TransAtlantic Division in 2033.
The Barcelona Bullfighters
Spain is already the world's No. 2 basketball country, having won silver at the past two Olympics, and FS Barcelona is a European power in hoops as well as soccer. A Bullfighters-Bulls matchup surely would draw fans in Catalonia, which banned actual matador-bull matchups two years ago.
The Eiffel Towers
Basketball has become a popular sport in France, which has given Tony Parker, Nic Batum and many others to the NBA. Paris could put a twist on the NBA's motto: "We Louvre this game!"
The Ich Bin Ein Berliners
Dirk Nowitzki is German basketball's only claim to fame so far. But Europe's strongest economy and its cool capital city should be able to support an NBA team. If not, maybe Greece can bail out Germany by moving the team to Athens.
The Roman Empire
Basketball has a solid foundation in Italy, thanks to a strong domestic league that has produced the likes of Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (pictured), Raptors center Andrea Bargnani and Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni. Kobe Bryant also spent part of his childhood in Italy and could play for the Rome team when he's in his 50s.
The Dutch Treats
Amsterdam is a lovely city with clean air and splendid museums, but let's face it. The real draw for many NBA players might be the lifestyle choices and forms of recreation that are oh-so-legal there.