Neal Meyer: “More generations of top European players will come to the NBA”

2022-11-06T14:23:12+00:00 2022-11-06T14:23:12+00:00.

Bilal Baran Yardımcı

06/Nov/22 14:23

The Associate Vice President of Basketball Operations EMEA Neal Meyer attended an NBA event in Istanbul

by Bilal Baran Yardımcı /

Neal Meyer, who worked in three different NBA teams (Blazers, Clippers, Cavaliers) within such roles as an assistant coach and video coordinator, is the Associate Vice President of Basketball Operations EMEA at NBA right now.

BIDEV, which is a foundation to develop basketball in Turkey, a collaboration with the NBA and founded jr.NBA BIDEV League. The draft of the league took place in the Darüssfaka Ayhan Sahenk Sports Arena in Turkey, and Neal Meyer attended the event.

Eurohoops had a chance to talk with Neal Meyer and he expressed his thoughts on NBA and Europe’s growing relationship and more.

“I think it is great. I think this year we had 56 European players in the NBA. Obviously, you see such players like Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic, who are dominating the league. Giannis is a superstar in the NBA and I think they give young players inspiration to look up to. I think there is going to be more and more generations of top European players that come to the NBA”, he said about the future connection between Europe and the NBA.

Of course, the NBA will become more and more global. “Obviously, football is the number one sport in the world. But I think basketball is a global sport through media, social media, video, and content. We can reach the whole world and I think we will continue to do that. With programs like the jr.NBA, getting more boys and girls to play at a young age will get more kids in the pipeline. They will get exposed to European basketball, NBA basketball, and WNBA basketball. I think it is going to continue to help grow the game around the world”, he added.


“I think they are coming closer and closer together. There is a different styles of play, the rules are different in some ways. Coaching philosophies and styles are different. But I think as more and more European players come to the NBA, and even Americans come and play in the EuroLeague and other domestic leagues here in Europe, I think it brings the game closer as they compete at different levels”, he said about the differences between NBA and European basketball.

On the court, the difference can be perceived even more. “You can see the World Cup and national league games, the style is different. When NBA players come back, they have to readjust to the rules of the game. You know, it is a little more physical than it used to be in NBA. But I think the game is growing closer and it is good for the game. We will continue to see players back and forth on both ways which are great for basketball”, he added.

There are a lot of European coaches who have the ability to eventually find themselves on an NBA bench, but the feeling is that there are no chances for guys like Dimitris Itoudis, Ettore Messina, or Ergin Ataman.

Neal Meyer talked about this topic, underlining that it’s a developing process. “I think the NBA doesn’t want only coaches but the referees. They want to get more referees in the pipeline. You’ve seen some great coaches like Messina and Scariolo, who had come over. And others that have been assistant coaches. I think it is similar to anything, it takes time to adjust and adapt. Coaching styles are different”, he said.

Summer League is also a stage where they can prove themselves. “But I know a lot of coaches from Europe that come over to Summer League and are part of the coaching staff. Former NBA coaches and assistants have come over to Europe and coached. So, as the game comes together and coaches develop their coaching philosophies, I think we will see more European coaches in the future NBA”, he added.

Being in Istanbul, he talked about the eventual possibility to play a game there. “NBA is always evaluating all the markets and looking for areas to explore global games. We will continue to do that. Our hope is, someday we will be back, but you know, it is hard to say at this point. But we are always exploring and looking at opportunities to do that.”, he stated.