With the two major basketball organizations and competitions, the NBA and Euroleague, constantly growing in popularity and drawing in more fans than ever before, it is perhaps best to compare these two strongest, yet contrasting basketball formats and see how they differ from each other. We will see the clear differences between team strengths, format, the quality of the players and revenue among other things.

Firstly, I would like to point out the perhaps most obvious difference between the competitions – the type and style of the way basketball is played.

The Importance of the Hierarchy in the team

In the NBA we have a more-or-less established hierarchy within each team, a team will almost always rely on their one or more superstars to lead the team who make the difference on the scoreboard, so for example the Cleveland Cavaliers will always look to pass the ball to LeBron James or the Golden State Warriors will always look to get the ball to Stephen Curry. Even when the team’s star is a point guard and his job is to assist, the team heavily relies on him to set up attacks or else they crumble.

In Europe, where there aren’t anywhere near as many superstars, the teams are usually much more focused on strategy and tactics in order to make up for the lack of such high talent, and players cover each other both in offense and defense.

Secondly, the way the whole thing is organized is completely different in the EuroLeague compared to the NBA, with the European counterpart resembling the UEFA Champions League. The Euroleague hosts a range of teams from various domestic leagues and qualifications are based on: performance over the two or three previous domestic seasons as well as the past season, the winner of the previous seasons Eurocup as well as contracts with ULEB.

Another major difference between the two leagues is also the branding and merchandising. Obviously teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Fenerbahce and others draw in crowds and media attention due to their successes and also partially because of their connection to the world famous soccer teams, so team branding is inevitable.

Profits and Sales are much better organized in the NBA

However, it is an understatement to say that sales are nowhere near to NBA sales, where the sales of sports gear and jerseys are a multi-billion dollar industry, which is practically non-existent in Europe. The main reason behind this is, first of all, Euroleague basketball clubs don’t even pay attention to this aspect, and so don’t expect much from merchandise sales. Secondly, buying jerseys from players that will spend one year with the team is a risky move. A Ronaldo jersey will always be more popular than any basketball player’s jersey in Madrid for example.

The NBA’s rules allow for much more individuality and free flow in the game, allowing stars to show their full potential, while in Europe athleticism is somewhat stifled and replaced with collectivism and team unity.

The main rules that differ include: moving screens are allowed in Europe, a shorter three point line, no defensive three in the key in Europe, a lot more contact is allowed in Europe and loose travelling is allowed in the NBA as opposed to the Euroleague.

While the two leagues are miles apart in quality, the national teams are also no match as the USA national basketball teams have been dominating the competitions throughout the years.

Despite their differences, all basketball fans are eagerly awaiting the new seasons and the spectacular matches on both continents, and hope the competition between the two leagues only intensifies, offering even stronger matches during NBA vs. Euroleague sides.