Making it Local? National
Basketball Association Expansion
and English Basketball
Mark Falcous and Joseph Maguire
I think it's really about excellence, I don't think anyone cares what country a … star comes
from. If people are interested in a particular discipline, they seek out the best and are
interested in watching the best.
Rick Welts, President NBA Properties
No amount of hard cash will ensure that the sport is nothing more than just another transient
The Observer, November 6, 1994
A divergent set of views on the reception of American basketball beyond the US can be discerned when examining the key groups involved in its diffusion and development. On one hand, National Basketball Association (NBA) executive, Rick Welts, emphasizing “excellence”, perceives American basketball as transcending all national boundaries, whereupon, due to the high standards of play, its cultural acceptance is inevitable. Similarly, NBA commissioner David Stern has saluted the NBA presence within Europe, suggesting that “If you haven't seen it, you can't appreciate how much a part of the European culture the NBA is” (Sports Illustrated, June 3, 1991, p. 86). On the other hand, sections of the British press expressed skepticism regarding the impact of the NBA. Such popular speculation regarding basketball is symptomatic of wider discussions central to globalization debates. These debates include questions regarding the propensity for local processes and cultures to be shaped by heightened global interdependence. Central to questions of the local-global nexus are issues of cultural hybridity, interpretation, consumption, disjuncture and resistance (Featherstone, 1991; Robins, 1997; Held et al., 1999; Held, 2000).