Basketball’s street cred fuels its fight to become UK’s No2 sport

Gangs don’t sabotage sessions because in inner-city communities basketball is sacred among the youth but the sport still desperately lacks the facilities to allow it to build
New York Knicks 79-95 Milwaukee Bucks
‘GB basketball has never been better, yet funding cut could be the end’

Even this basketball agnostic enjoyed the syrupy-slick razzmatazz of the NBA’s annual trip to London, but while the contest between the New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks was a blowout, the battle to win hearts and minds in Britain strums on. Last week Adam Silver, the NBA’s commissioner, put it bluntly. Basketball’s goal, he said, was to be the No2 sport in the UK.

Number two sport! That will be greeted with scepticism by Britain’s many basketball refuseniks, whose fingers-in-ears attitude is not dissimilar to those Americans who used to sneer that soccer would never get a foothold in the US. After all, we have been here before. In the early 80s, when Channel 4 broadcast the sport on Mondays; in the 90s when ITV showed the NBA and Sky had comprehensive coverage of British basketball; and again when London won the right to host the Olympics.

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