NBA Europe Live Press Conference: October 11, Cologne, Germany
Euroleague Basketball CEO Jordi Bertomeu
"Good afternoon. Now that we are here, about to finish this tour, we have to be ready to make a very good evaluation of this experience. This analysis should be based on the goals we had at the beginning when we started. I think I can say, on the one hand, that the NBA teams have had a good time in Europe, and were able to practice well and complete their objectives. From our side, I am happy to say that Euroleague Basketball teams have shown that they are competitive not only on the court, but as organizations as well. And I think the cities can be very happy, too.
"Second, I think that the objective of promoting basketball around Europe this week has been completed very satisfactorily. The response from our fans has been very positive in all the cities. We had the opportunity to be close to the fans, which made this tour a good idea. Finally, I'd like to say that working together with the NBA has been good for us. We made a good team. Now that we are almost finished with this experience, it's time to work together again for next year and improve the level of organization. I'd like to thank all those who made this possible, mainly the sponsors who made a great effort, as well as the Euroleague teams, the NBA teams, the players, the coaches and the cities involved."
NBA commissioner David Stern
"First, thanks to Joel Linzer and EA Sports for being the primary sponsor of 2006 NBA Europe Live. It's been a great collaboration and we are happy to see the fans embrace both basketball on the court and virtual basketball. It's been a great collaboration, too, with Jordi and the Euroleague. We worked hard together to get that god collaboration. From a basketball perspective, it has been a very successful trip. Our teams did their training, and got in the sessions they needed. They also got a chance to show Europe both live in the arenas and on TV that America's game is increasingly becoming the world's game. It has been great also to see the teams from the Euroleague give us just terrific competition. It's fun, too, to end here in Cologne, because this clearly is the most outstanding building in Europe. You saw the enthusiasm of the fans last night, as we'll surely see tonight. So it's a great feeling for everybody involved. In terms of non-business objectives, the community events we did with NBA players and Euroleague players were terrific. They clearly connected basketball with social responsibility and a family perspective, which is something very important to us. The enthusiasm with which the games were received was very good for us. This event goes well with TV, marketing, merchandising and other aspect. It's been a complete success for us, and I look forward now to tonight's double-header."
On the possibility of an NBA event in the United Kingdom
David Stern: "I would say that London together with Cologne together with Rome and Malaga and Barcelona and any number of other cities, Prague, too. There's a long list of cities that have expressed interest in hosting as many of these games as we care to play. Obviously, we won't host as many as they want, but clearly it's a long list of cities with sufficient buildings for us to make it an annual affair. The players are very happy, which is important to us, and we feel that their travel has enriched them in terms of basketball and in the broader perspective as well. That's the long answer to the question on London, but that city is in the mix."
On whether the NBA can learn anything from the Euroleague
Jordi Bertomeu: "I think that we cannot say what others might learn form us. First and always, I have tried to be very realistic, and I am more concerned with what we can do to grow, than with what we can teach others. Us teaching anything to the NBA is out of my mind at the moment. All we can do is show the abilities of our teams and encourage them continue improving, because of course, we have big room to grow."
On whether the NBA can learn anything from the Euroleague
David Stern: "I was at the Final Four in Prague watching CSKA beat Maccabi for the championship, and the team they have here is enhanced a bit from that one. It is stating the obvious that if you have a team of good players, and they play together more time, it's going to be much more than the sum of its parts. That confirmed something we knew. The Clippers were in their fourth day of practice, but it was interesting to watch how very effective CSKA was in Moscow. Their players know each other well. They have a good coach. So it was fun to see a team at the top of it's game, functioning like that. That's a lesson reinforced after what we saw from Greece in the World Championships. That teams who are together a long time can complete each other's basketball sentences. They are much stronger than the sum of their parts. Basketball is the ultimate team sport, combining individual talent in the team concept, and the top teams continue to demonstrate that."
On comments from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban about NBA Europe Live.
David Stern: "I watch Jordi all the time, and I never turn my back. We have a good laugh, but (scorpion) that wouldn't be the first word that comes to mind when I talk about Jordi. I think that Jordi got too upset with (Cuban's) remarks, but he's not as used to them as I am. It is what it is, as we say. I was sorry that my friend Jordi felt that he had been assailed. Sometimes it requires knowledge to accurately assail, and I don't think there was any knowledge in the remarks about Jordi."
On Euroleague teams playing preseason games in the U.S.
Jordi Bertomeu: "That is a project that started last night with Efes Pilsen in Denver, a project that we can define in the same way as what we are doing here. In that case, we have to opportunity to go to the States, to show American fans that we and Europe have good basketball. I think the NBA teams can offer something different to their fans than the same opponents during the season, and that our teams can improve our playing level with these games. This is our objective and we will see how it goes in the future."
David Stern: "We would like to continue that. If you look at it on a spectrum, it's fair to say that we have demonstrated that globalization includes basketball. We have seen basketball become one of the top three sports at the Olympics, which wasn't the case before the 1992 Olympics. The World Championships is more of a major event than ever before. Now we can see teams travel and being well known every place they go. Having Maccabi and Efes play in the U.S. enhances that globalization. And our fans like being connected with something that connects them to the world. In our sport, that's good. We find that international players in the NBA and international competition are very well received by our fans. We feel it enhances our sport and the fans' enjoyment of the sport. The more we do it, the more we think it's good for our business as well."