The limitations of existing air travel technology will prevent any major international expansion, Sam Amick of USA Today writes. While the league has enjoyed success hosting the occasional event in China, there’s just no logical way to incorporate such an ambitious expansion considering how long it would take, and how taxing it would be to send teams back and forth between North America and Asia.
Of course that hasn’t ruled out league commissioner Adam Silver from at least being open to the idea if, or perhaps when, existing airline technology changes. Currently a flight from the West Coast to China takes 14 hours. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk are hard at work trying to innovate feasible ways of moving people across the globe quicker and more efficiently.
“We can play games in China and Europe, or occasional preseason games as a one-off,” Silver said. “But under existing airline technology, the planes aren’t fast enough to at least play in the current frame work of our regular season.”
A more realistic option for international expansion would involve Mexico City. Travelling to Mexico is far more practical, although political and financial hurdles remain. Silver cites the success of the league’s international expansion north into Canada as proof that such change is at least possible.
There’s more from around the league:
- In the same article, Sam Amick of USA Today writes that NBA commissioner Adam Silver doesn’t necessarily consider the 82-game season to be set in stone. “There’s nothing magical about 82 games,” Silver said. “It’s been in place for 50 years, but for the long-term planning of the league, as we learn more about the human body and the wear and tear of travel and the competitive landscape … invariably we’ll look at the regular season.“
- With the first season in the books, the Big3 has turned its attention to next year, bringing back a number of players from the inaugural campaign. A press release on the league’s official site mentions that a batch of players, including league MVP Rashard Lewis, have already signed on to return in 2018.
- The NBA’s willingness to shake up the All-Star Game format could imply that they’d consider changing how seeding in the playoffs works, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes, although there’s no indication that any change is imminent.