Monday, February 15, 2010

Global appeal of basketball soars, with NBA leading way

By THEODORE KIM / The Dallas Morning News
Rainer Sabin contributed to this report.

The NBA planted the seeds for globalization in the early 1980s, when it inked a deal with an Italian television channel to show games.

That landmark agreement, followed by others, allowed the league to beam the budding Celtics-Lakers rivalry overseas and cultivate a new generation of fans and potential talent.

As Dallas prepares to host the 2010 NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium today, one might say those seeds have since matured into a Sequoia.

Some believe basketball now rivals soccer in its global appeal. Fans in Paris, Tel Aviv and Shanghai wear Kobe Bryant jerseys and keep tabs on box scores, injury reports and other league minutiae.

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