Originally Posted by Gonso
You're right basketball in the US is not the most popular sport either. However, the publicity NBA stars get is huge compared to what Euroleague top players get in Europe. And no in Greece (unfortunately) basketball is not even close to football, I am Greek and I can tell you that for sure. I don't get it but that's the way it is. Latvia is indeed the only country where I know for sure that this is the case.
I do think that he is trying to rise his contract and he will but it is my personal opinion and I don't want to impose it to anyone that he or any NBA player of that callibre will ever come to Europe at the peak of their career (I'm talking in the mid-run, not in 50 years or anything). The balance sheets of the european teams cannot support a $50m per year contract. Fact. Even Chelsea does not have a player with such a contract (not even close actually!).
I've always thought that basketball was almost at the same level as football in Greece, in popularity that is. I am Lithuanian, so I can assure you basketball is number one here and in Latvia. I agree with you about players coming at this age, at this level. If LeBron was European, like Nowitzki or Gasol, we could have a different discussion. But this guy is American, he doesn't need all those problems there, since he is playing at home and I'm sure he's fine at the club he is at.
Knowing Abramovich, you could expect a contract that big, but Chelsea still wouldn't win much, maybe the cup. However, it is possible to pay money like that, Chelsea offered (reportedly) up to 200 million Euros for him. That's big money. Unfortunately, big football clubs don't like spending big money on basketball, such as Real Madrid or Barca. Looking at major Greek teams like Pana or Olympiakos, it seems like they value both sports very high.