If you are a basketball fan, then you should be aware of the best European basketball leagues. Out of all the basketball leagues around the world, the European ones are currently some of the most popular.
Basketball in Europe is very competitive and you will surely get huge satisfaction when you watch your favorite teams win.
But what are the best European basketball leagues?
Which ones should you be paying attention to?
If you are looking for the best European Basketball Leagues, then you have come to the right place. Here below we will list the best basketball leagues in Europe as well as everything you need to know about them.
Which European Country is the Best at Basketball?
With several professional European basketball leagues and dozens of teams, it is not always simple to see who the best teams are.
From Italy to France to Russia to Spain, who is the best at basketball outside America’s finest NBA?
According to a report by Wikipedia, the best European countries in terms of basketball are:
- Italy with 12 championships won
- Spain with a total of 9 championships won
- Greece with 3 championships won
While this report isn’t the newest, it definitely shows that Italy, Spain, and Greece are the best basketball teams in Europe.
Last but not least, it is important to note that other national teams are also very talented and won their fair amount of games played.
Who are the Top 3 Best European Basketball Players?
Apart from the national teams and the best European basketball leagues, the players are the ones who make teams so powerful.
So who are the most notorious and popular basketball players that come from Europe? And how did they get to the level they are now?
Whether they play in the NBA or in one of these European leagues, these basketball players are the best from the old continent and certainly some of the best in the world.
- Tony Parker, France – Played with the San Antonio Spurs since 2001 and the Charlotte Hornets since 2018.
- Dirk Nowitzki, Germany – Played with the Dallas Mavericks from 1999 to 2019
- Pau Gasol, Spain – Played with different teams such as the Memphis Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Lakers, and even the San Antonio Spurs
That is to say, while the European leagues aren’t so prestigious and popular as the NBA, they certainly give opportunities to talents to shine and become very famous personas.
Best European Basketball Leagues
Now that we’ve been through the best European basketball players and the best countries outside the U.S. in terms of basketball, let’s focus on our main topic.
It is important to note that some rules are different from America’s NBA to the European basketball leagues. First, NBA games are longer in time with 12 minutes instead of 10.
Also, teamwork is more highlighted in European basketball. Of course, the tactics and strategies between both is another factor to consider.
Do these factors mean that one basketball league is better than another? Not necessarily, but these contribute to the talent and popularity of both leagues.
These are the best European basketball leagues you have to know about to have fun, follow an alternative league to the NBA, and eventually even consider playing at if you’re a basketball player.
The Euroleague, also referred to as the Turkish Airlines Euroleague for commercial reasons, is the highest-level professional basketball league in Europe.
Organized since 2000, it is one of the most-watched European basketball leagues in the world and has one of the highest attendance rates in the world.
The Euroleague is the perfect place for top European basketball players to showcase their skills and talents, attract audiences and boost international interest in the game. In fact, some celebrities started their career in the EuroLeague and are now playing in the NBA such as Kristaps Porzingis, currently playing for the Dallas Mavericks
It has a unique blend of glamour, prestige, business and marketing and participation in this top European professional basketball league is a high profile event.
The Euroleague is very popular among fans in Europe and beyond, and thus the competition for tickets, sponsorship and endorsements is intense. In recent years, with the growth of the internet and cable television, the reach of the Euroleague has become enormous through online streaming.
Thus the exposure of the Euroleague to the wider audience has also become possible, which was impossible in the past.
The Euroleague has built a name and reputation for itself as the top European professional basketball team competition. The Euroleague has evolved as an innovative, creative and challenging entity, attracting not only top European basketball players but international ones as well.
FIBA’s Basketball Champions League
The European Basketball Champions League is an international professional basketball competition, organised by FIBA, the International Basketball Federation.
This competition is one of the best in the world, with the participation of 32 teams divided into 4 groups and hundreds of players.
The most popular teams that are part of the competition include CSM Oradea, Rilski Sportist, or even Parma.
The competition is very exciting for fans of basketball as well as for people who simply follow the sport as entertainment.
So if you are a big basketball fan and are interested in watching some more interesting match outside the NBA, then take a look at the FIBA’s Basketball Champions League and see if it is right for you!
The Liga ACB (Asociación de Clubs de Baloncesto) is the leading professional basketball league in Spain. Some of the best teams in La Liga ACB are Real Madrid Baloncesto, Saski Baskonia, or even Gran Canaria.
With the 18 participant teams, this league is very popular with many people and has even earned some recognition internationally within the basketball world.
The Liga ACB is the most recognized and largest of all Spanish soccer competitions with its worldwide following. Each season, the players and teams earn points and based on these points, the teams will advance to different competitions which are all-important in the overall standings.
The league has a very high standard that demands a lot from the players and from teams as a whole. As a result, the competition within this league is very fierce and there is always a battle for second place or even a playoff.
Lastly, Luka Dončić, currently playing for NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, started his career for the Liga ACB’s Real Madrid.
In plain words, the Liga ACB is one of the best European basketball leagues but also arguably the top second or third league in the world.
The Basketball Bundesliga
Germany’s basketball league Bundesliga is another one of the most popular in Europe and for good reasons. The Basketball Bundesliga consists of eighteen teams that are all very talented and exciting to watch.
Created and launched on the 1st of October, 1966, it is composed of 18 teams and the team that got the most titles is the Bayer Giants Leverkusen (with 14 titles).
Apart from that, the most popular teams in the Basketball Bundesliga league are the Alba Berlin, the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, and the FC Bayern Munich.
Moreover, the Basketball Bundesliga is also known as easyCredit BBL for sponsorship reasons.
In conclusion, the basketball Bundesliga is another one of the best leagues in the world and definitely a valid alternative to the NBA if you’re willing to get some feelings in front of your TV or at the stadium.
Basketball Super League (Basketbol Süper Ligi)
The Basketball Super League, also called ING Basketbol Süper Ligi for sponsorship reasons is the professional division of the Turkish basketball league.
Founded in 1966, it is one of the oldest in Europe and is made up of 16 teams with the Anadolu Efes, the Fenerbahçe, and the Pınar Karşıyaka to stand out from the rest.
The most popular celebrities that played in the league are Ersan İlyasova, currently enrolled in the Utah Jazz, and Enes Kanter playing for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Simply put, if you want to witness some professional and exciting passes outside the NBA, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Basketball Super League.
VTB United League
The VTB United League is a Russian national professional men’s league, which was founded in 2008. It consists of mainly Russian teams, with others from other nearby countries as well such as Estonia, Belarus, or Kazakhstan.
That is to say, the best teams part of the Russian VTC league are CSKA Moskow, the BC Zenit Saint Petersburg, and the PBC Lokomotiv Kuban.
Like other leagues, the VTB United League has seen and brought some really good players to NBA teams such as Andrei Kirilenko at the Utah Jazz or Timofey Mozgov for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers.
LNB Pro A basketball
The LNB Pro A basketball league, also known as Jeep Élite for sponsorship reasons, is the well-known French basketball association in Europe for men.
The league was founded in 1987 as an amateur league in order to provide a platform for European basketball players to play professionally.
The best teams in the LNB Pro A league are Monaco, Dijon, Lyon-Villeurbanne, and Strasbourg.
Furthermore, some incredibly talented NBA players gained some serious experience in the Jeep Élite such as Tony Parker, Rudy Gobert, and Evan Fournier.
To sum up, the LNB Pro A is one of the best European basketball leagues you should pay more attention to.
Initially called the Goodyear League in the early days from 2001 to 2006 and the NLB League from 2006 to 2011, the Adriatic League is the former Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia).
The Adriatic League (known as ABA) is formed of 14 teams from all the former Yugoslavia countries. The most successful teams, out of all of them, are the KK Crvena Zvezda, the FK Budućnost Podgorica, and the KK Mornar Bar.
Just like the other European leagues, the ABA gave the chance to basketball players to build an NBA career such as Nikola Peković at the Minnesota Timberwolves.
To wrap this up, the Adriatic League was one of the most successful and long-running amateur basketball organizations in Europe and continues to be one of the best European basketball leagues in 2021.
Lega Basket Serie A
Lega Basket Serie A is a professional Italian Basketball Association basketball team that was established in 1920 as a competitive men’s basketball league.
It is currently the second-highest professional league in Italian basketball history and also among the most high-level European basketball teams.
Lega Basket features several teams in different countries throughout Europe.
There are 16 teams to play for the right spots in the tournament, and from May to October of the following season, the teams challenge themselves for the top placements.
Italian basketball players were able to become professional and to join some of the most prestigious NBA teams in the United States after playing in the Lega Basket Serie A such as Nicolò Melli.
That is to say, the Lega Basket Serie A is one of the most professional European leagues in Europe but also in the world.
Are the European Basketball Leagues as Good as the NBA?
Let’s face it, we always want to compare what we have with the best. For this reason, you might wonder if the European basketball leagues are really as good as the NBA.
First of all, and while some European basketball leagues are pretty good such as the EuroLeague, they simply can’t compete in terms of budget, players, and popularity. For instance, if we check the budget for the top 3 teams in the EuroLeague, they are all around $40 million.
This is less than some top-paid NBA players such as Stephen Curry with his $43 million salary, according to ESPN.
Secondly, NBA players are simply the best worldwide. For instance, if we were to enjoy a basketball game between a EuroLeague team and an NBA team, we perfectly know that the EuroLeague would struggle like never before and would probably even lose.
In plain words, there is this big gap between the EuroLeague and the NBA. The best European players in the old continent are just very good in the NBA.
To sum up, why aren’t European basketball leagues as good as America? They have been playing for longer, they invest a much higher budget, and the NBA players’ training and education are simply better.
The best European basketball leagues are the ones that stand out from all other competitions including the NBA. While, of course, America’s prestigious NBA is the best in terms of following, popularity, and professionalism, these European leagues will definitely make you love basketball again.
It’s important not to underestimate European basketball, especially if you’re used to the American leagues.
To conclude, these were the best basketball leagues and teams in Europe that you had to know about. From the popular EuroLeague to FIBA’s Champions League to many more, you’ll have the time of your life watching players passing the ball.