The Budweiser Championships, at Wembley Arena this weekend, represent an upturn in fortunes of British basketball. The disastrous misfortunes that afflicted Kingston (now Guildford and the dominant team of the 1980s) have long since been forgotten and important lessons learned. The year- old alliance with Budweiser has been successful. The new franchises have attracted sponsorship, international players and fans to their new venues. The sport has achieved increased coverage and is now shown alongside its American twin on Sky Sports. The American NBA is still the benchmark for basketball around the globe but the English game is fast improving.
London boasts a range of exciting teams in the National Basketball League and some of them will be fighting for honours on Sunday. Under the influence of manager Alton Byrd (above, in his playing days), Crystal Palace has just won promotion into the Budweiser League. On Sunday they take on the Coventry Crusaders for the Division Cup.
The country's premier team, the Sheffield Sharks, will also be on view. They are the team to beat this weekend and next year in the Budweiser league.
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