Home » NBL signs Memorandum of Understanding with Japan’s B.League | Sporting News Australia

NBL signs Memorandum of Understanding with Japan’s B.League | Sporting News Australia

The National Basketball League (NBL) on Sunday announced a Memorandum of Understanding had been reached with the Japanese Professional Basketball League (B.League) with the hope of growing the game in both countries.

As part of the agreement, Japanese and Australian teams could head overseas to play in the other’s pre-season tournaments, while the feasibility of a B.League team competing in the NBL will also be explored.

B.League referees and officials could also appear in Australia during pre-season as part of the agreement.

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NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said international growth was an important part of their strategy.

“Making the NBL a more relevant product outside of Australia has been a significant component of our growth strategy since 2015, and we have always seen incredible potential in Japan where we have fostered and enjoyed wonderful relationships with our counterparts from the B.LEAGUE,” Loeliger said.

“Discussions with the BLG have already been extremely positive and we look forward to them continuing in the future. I would like to specifically thank Chairman Shimada for his ongoing support and innovative approach.

“We share very similar values and together we believe we can make a big difference to basketball in the region.”

NBL Owner and Executive Chairman Larry Kestelman also threw his support behind the move.

“I am very supportive of a vision where teams from Asia play in the NBL, with the support of FIBA and Basketball Australia,” Kestelman said.

“The exciting partnership between the NBL and BLG will help grow basketball in both regions, while also providing greater opportunities for players from those regions to take the well-established NBL to NBA pathway.

“The NBL has proven to be one of the best avenues to the NBA, and growing the League internationally will expose more players to that pathway.”

The B.League’s Chairman Shimada said the agreement could see more Japanese players head down under to ply their trade.

“We believe that this MOU will be a great boost for B.LEAGUE as we aim to become ‘one of the biggest and best leagues in the world’, and we expect that partnering with the NBL, which has attracted worldwide attention and created many NBA players, will lead to the development of the B.LEAGUE in various ways,” Chairman Shimada said.

“In terms of competition, it will provide opportunities for Japanese players to play at a higher level, and we believe that it will also be a good opportunity for mutual business development in both countries.”