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While England doesn’t have a storied basketball history, it doesn’t mean that the English don’t love basketball. The British Basketball League (BBL) was established in 1987, and currently has eleven teams.

James HardenThose teams are:
Bristol Flyers
Cheshire Phoenix
Glasgow Rocks
Leicester Riders
London Lions
Manchester Giants
Newcastle Eagles
Plymouth Raiders
Sheffield Sharks
Surrey Scorchers
Worcester Wolves

The most prominent player in the BBL so far has been John Amaechi, who played in Sheffield for the 1997-98 season after spending four seasons with the NBA’s Orlando Magic, and Utah Jazz. Amaechi since retirement from basketball Amaechi has spent a significant amount of time in television, but has also gotten his PhD in Psychology, and has started the Amaechi Performance Systems, which is a consulting firm that works with companies to improve leadership and communication skills as well as organizational diversity.

In the BBL teams play for the BBL Championship, which is awarded to the team with the most points following the play of season play. The BBL Playoffs, which awards a winner based on the top eight teams in the BBL Championship season. The BBL Cup which is awarded to the winner of an annual tournament, and the BBL Trophy which is also awarded to the winner of an annual tournament.

The BBL also established its women’s division in 2014. Much like the BBL, the WBBL is made up of eleven teams. Those teams are as follows,

Greek FreakBA London Lions
Caledonia Pride
Cardiff Met Archers
Durham Palatinates
Essex Rebels
Leicester Riders
Manchester Mystics
Newcastle Eagles
Nottingham Wildcats
Oaklands Wolves
Sevenoaks Suns

These teams play for the WBBL Championship, which is awarded to the team with the most points after their 22 game regular season, The WBBL Playoff championship, which is awarded to the winner of an eight team knockout tournament. The Betty Codona Trophy which is awarded to the winner of an annual pool stage and knockout tournament which features all of the WBBL clubs. And lastly the Betty Codona Classic, which is a three day tournament in honor of Betty Codona, who was a stalwart in women's basketball in Great Britain for over 50 years and was the founder of the first WBBL team the Sheffield Haters.

While today Great Britain isn’t know for its basketball players if the BBL, and WBBL can remain healthy they can provide a place for homegrown talent to develop, and start to make inroads into the hearts and minds of sports fans in the UK. There have been plenty of NBA stars that have come from other European nations such as Spain, France, Croatia, Germany, and Slovenia. While its unlikely to ever see the success of the NBA, it is important that these leagues exist and prosper to allow the UK to start to grow talent that can help it compete on the international stage so that some day basketball can be thought of in the same way that football, golf, rugby and cricket are.