Quit calling the NBA Champions 'World Champions'
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.
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.
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.