Last night one of our London team attended the sold out basketball game between the London Lions and the Leicester Riders. Find out what she thought below.
Until a few days ago I didn’t know London even had a professional basketball team but last night I found myself at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre to watch the London Lions play the Leicester Riders in their final home game of the season.
I’ll be forgiven for not knowing of their existence; they only emerged for the 2012/2013 season after the owner of Milton Keynes Lions, Vince Macaulay, faced with the prospect of no venue for his team to call home, persuaded the British Basketball League to take on a London team to continue the basketball legacy left by the 2012 London Olympics. The team will move into their new home – the Copperbox Olympic facility on the Olympic Park in time for next season, but for now they call Crystal Palace home.
Last night’s game was a sold out affair after some clever marketing including offering discounted tickets on Groupon, which is where I saw it advertised and snapped up tickets.
The action itself was fast-paced end-to-end and exciting to watch; especially when the crowd got behind the team. The Lions fought hard but unfortunately were out played in the final quarter and finished up on the wrong side of a 63-89 score sheet. In true American style there were cheerleaders and a mascot cheering on the team by filling the time outs and breaks between quarters with some pom pom shaking.
I would definitely go and see the Lions play again – but I’ll have to wait until next season now which is likely to start September 2013. Moving the team to an Olympic venue should bring additional crowds and, hopefully, some young fans who will be inspired to take up the sport. In doing so the British Basketball League can progress with their aim of continuing the Olympic basketball legacy in London.