NBA season 2016-17

Brexit causes concern over London, says NBA commissioner Adam Silver

Indiana Pacers take on the Denver Nuggets in the seventh regular season game in the English capital at the O2 Arena on Thursday, but last year’s vote casts a doubt over future games

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 January, 2017, 1:06pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 January, 2017, 1:07pm

NBA commissioner Adam Silver admitted on Wednesday that the Brexit vote has created uncertainty over the league’s future in London.

The Indiana Pacers take on the Denver Nuggets in the seventh regular season game in the English capital at the O2 Arena on Thursday.

But while the league would like to increase the number of games played outside the United States, Great Britain’s place at the front of the queue is no longer guaranteed due to the ramifications of the nation’s decision to leave the European Union.

“We have studied it a lot and we still don’t know the answer,” Silver said.

“It’s unclear to us what impact it will have and my sense is, from talking to our many partners back in the United States, it remains unclear to them as well.”

London became the focus of much of the NBA’s international operations in the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games, with the organisation’s European headquarters moving to the country’s capital city in 2007.

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But Silver suggested Brexit could change the future of that relationship, with economics not the only concern.

“We do study it and there is Brexit itself and then the symbolism of Brexit,” he said.

“This notion we have that wherever you grow up – whether in London or Beijing or Johannesburg or Paris – that if you’re the very best basketball player you’re going to come together and play in this one league.

“So we pay a lot of attention to things that potentially impact borders and, I think as a sport, we are also very focused on principles and values. That includes inclusion and diversity and respect for others.”