While the BBL hasn’t historically been considered one of Europe’s top-basketball leagues, it has been growing in popularity in recent years.
The Lions have been one of the league’s most successful franchises during that time, winning the BBL Cup in the 10-team league in both 2019 and 2023 and reaching the postseason final in three of the BBL’s last four full seasons. The 30-4 Lions will enter this year’s playoffs as the league’s top seed.
“It’s great to see everything that is going on in British basketball right now, which is why I am really excited to join the London Lions,” Anunoby said in a statement. “I just want to do my part as a role model to all the young hoopers in London and across the entire UK. I look forward to visiting the team in the off-season and can’t wait to help build with the organisation.”
It’s not unprecedented for international NBA players to invest in professional teams in their home countries. Yao Ming (Shanghai Sharks) and Tony Parker (ASVEL Basket) are among the NBA stars who have done so over the years. They controlled – or still control, in Parker’s case – majority shares of those teams, while Anunoby will have a minority stake in the Lions.
Anunoby, whose four-year, $72MM contract with the Raptors is guaranteed through next season with a player option for 2024/25, was born in London.