NBA 'jealous' of football's Champions League

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver 'jealous of the Champions League'

The NBA is "jealous" of European football's Champions League and can learn from it, says Adam Silver, the head of the American basketball league.

The lawyer, 52, is in his second year as NBA commissioner, keeps a close eye on the Champions League and envies the sport's "religious" fans.

"The Champions League is a fantastic concept, one we are always looking at," Silver told BBC Sport.

"There is so much that happens in European soccer that I'm jealous of."

He added: "I just think that the depth and loyalty of the fans, it's almost a religious aspect to fandom."

Silver was speaking ahead of Sunday's NBA All-Star game, which pits the best players from the competition's Eastern Conference against their Western counterparts and this year takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York.

However, he is unsure whether the concept would work in English football.

"It's a great event," he added. "My reluctance to recommend it to the Premier League is that they are such a well run league.

"With English soccer, it is 'the' sport. People like rugby and other sports but they have their team.

"Here, I grew up in New York City for example, I support the Yankees, I'm a fan of the Giants, I'm a fan of the Rangers and the Knicks.

"There's a lot of choice here and a lot of divided loyalties."

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