Ron Artest Wants European Leagues To Be More Accessible to American Players

Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest has always been the kind of player who unabashedly voices his opinion. But this time Artest should have kept his mouth shut.

While training for the Lakers exhibition game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, to be played in London as part of an NBA showcase, Artest commented about the shortage of American players in European basketball leagues.

"They need to let more Americans play in the European leagues," Artest said. "It's not fair that a lot of American players can't come to China or can't come to Europe to play with as many players as they want, so there's no balance ... They should just make it more even."

What Artest is referring to is that in some foreign leagues, Spain and Greece in particular, have a cap on how many American players are allowed on the roster (usually only two or three). Other countries have no limits, but there is often a favoritism shown towards native players.

Artest is right that it's unfair that there are no restrictions on foreign players coming to the NBA (there were 79 from 35 different countries last season), while there are restrictions the other way around. But there's a reason those rules exist.

Basketball is, and always has been, an American sport. It was started in the U.S. and the NBA's greatest players come from the U.S., from the old greats like Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to today's superstars like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. This is also the only country where college basketball is an actual spectator sport and, depending on the conference, is comparably competitive to many professional basketball leagues.

For every European basketball player, there are at least a dozen American basketball players equally as good. So if these restrictions didn't exist, European and Asian rosters would be filled with American-born players. If these Greek or Spanish teams cared about winning then they would have to go after t...

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