The David Stern farewell tour hasn't unofficially started, but between now and his scheduled Feb. 1, 2014 exit, the NBA commissioner will likely be asked to weigh in on his past accomplishments, the current status of the league and what he envisions for its future.
Among the predictions Stern offered on ESPN Radio's SVP and Rusillo Thursday is the NBA's expansion to Europe — an overseas move he doesn't see happening during his tenure, but a move that he's sure will occur in the next 20 years.
"I think so," Stern said when asked if he sees a team in Europe at some point. "I think multiple NBA international teams. Twenty years from now? For sure. In Europe. No place else. In other places I think you'll see the NBA name on leagues and other places with marketing and basketball support, but not part of the NBA as we now know it."
Stern's desire for an NBA foothold in Europe is nothing new. London has long been considered the favorite to land an expansion team, though the commissioner has dreamed of a division full of teams in European cities such as Barcelona, Berlin, Madrid, Paris and Rome. Stern's original plans for a European invasion were sunk by unstable European financial markets and the lack of NBA-ready arenas capable of reaping a profit over a full regular-season and beyond.
"I don't think having a single team in Europe is practical," Stern told the Boston Globe in October. "I never have.
"What I've said is if we're going to have an NBA presence here in terms of the league, it should be five teams. It's safe to say that there aren't enough buildings, there aren't adequate TV arrangements, we don't have owners, and I'm not sure we could charge the prices that would be necessary. I don't think our fans are that avid yet.
David Stern: NBA will 'for sure' add European teams
SI.com | Jan 4