Quit calling the NBA Champions 'World Champions'

in #hive-1016902 months ago


We have already seen the first game of the NBA championship match series played. It has been a season long spectacule that will cumulate in the title being awarded to signify the best team for this season. It is a big deal in the basketball World and rightly so, but there is one statement I have come across a little too often.

There is a tendecy to refer to the NBA title as a 'World Title' like the NBA is some sort of global competition. This I wholeheartedly disagree with. The NBA is the biggest league competition in basketball but that does not make it global. Given, it does feature a team from Canada (Toronto Raptors) but the overwhelming majority of teams are from the U.S.A. It is a domestic competition and should be regarded as such.

The Argument

Are NBA teams the best in the World? yes is the obvious answer. The NBA is basketball's premier league and is its most successful body. It is a multi billion dollar franchize that attracts the best players from all over the World. The dream of every professional basketball player is to play in the NBA am sure. Yet, there is a significant difference between being the best and being the only league in the World.

Referring to the NBA champions as World champions however true technically is wrong. It is an insult to other professional basketballing leagues in the World and players who have earned the right to call themseleves champions in their domestic leagues. Money can buy many things, but subjecting ourselves to doing the right things is what is money cannot buy. There is a process to being called World champion in many sports, and that entails beating the best from all over the World.

Unfortunately there is no basketball competition at club level that is global and can really be said to determine the best team in the World. The one organized by FIBA (the FIBA intercontinental cup) features only four teams, does not really have a structure and most importantly it doesn't feature the NBA championship winners. The NBA instead sends the champions of its development league called the NBA G-League.

The Problem

In my view basketball may have come a long way as a sport, but it still needs a lot of growth globally before the talk of global competitions can even be had. NBA teams can refer to themselves as such because there really isn't much of a challenge outside the NBA. I have discussed in the past some countries I feel have the most potential to growing their basketball leagues to perhaps one day compete with the NBA. Till there are alternatives to the NBA in terms of popularity, pay, and structure, it will continue to operate a defacto monopoly.


Whoever is crowned in the next week or so can be regarded as the best team in the World, but they are by no means World champions. That is a position one earns through competition rather than consensus in my view.


Same story with baseball calling it the world series and unfortunately why Americans are seen as arrogant in the sporting world. Take it with a pinch of salt as it has no bearing on how good or bad they are as they are only competing amongst themselves. This is why when they play in the Olympics and get beaten people are shocked as they really believe they are the greatest.

It is very arrogant to be honest

Ya as @cryptoandcoffee says the World series in baseball is another crazy title, yes very country in world takes part with the exception of the 194 that are not called the USA! ;)

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It's a very interesting one and the general consensus in Australia too is that it's Americans being ignorant. If I may play devils advocate, could any other team in the world outside America realistically challenge the NBA champion?

Good points. But I actually wouldn´t even be so sure about the fact the NBA teams are automatically the best in the world. Here in Europe, basketball is very different (I mean the playstyle) and I think some NBA teams would have a hard time facing some of the best European teams, especially when played in the European arenas where the fans create atmosphere that the American players never experienced. I´m talkig about this ;)

@tipu curate

Not trying to be an American apologist but this comes up with baseball regularly. Yes, it is a misnomer to call yourselves the world champions when the rest of the world wasn't invited to play but I'll bring up something that happened like 20 years ago and I apologize for being vague but I'm not going to look up the details.

The Detroit Lions were really bad. I mean just flat out awful in MLB. They only won a handful of games and the franchise looked to be in trouble. To pick up the spirits of I dunno who, the fans I guess, the Lions went on a world tour to play the best Japanese, Korean, and some Central American teams.... and absolutely destroyed everyone they played.

I still agree that it isn't fair to call yourselves world champions though even though it is quite likely true that they are the best team in the world since all the world's best players would jump at the chance to play in that league.

There's a reason why MLS champions don't declare themselves world champions. I wish they would because that would be hilarious.