Laeralian Basketball Association

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The Laeralian Basketball Association (French: Association de Basket-ball Laeralien; Mandarin: 絲綢之鄉籃球協會; Mandarin Pinyin: Sīchóu zhī xiāng lánqiú xiéhuì), abbreviated as the LBA, is the first-tier professional men's basketball league in Laeral. The LBA was established in 2001 and currently has 14 teams, and viewing numbers and game attendance have increased in nearly every season since the association's founding. The league's best teams annually compete in a tournament to award the Legends Cup. The existence and popularity of the LBA has made basketball the second-most popular sport in Laeral (behind handball) and has been credited with raising the profile of basketball in Laeral, particularly among the 18-34 age demographic.

History[edit | edit source]

The LBA was founded as the Legends Laeralian Basketball Association in 2001, consisting of 6 teams and sponsored by the Legends Entertainment Group, known for their amusement park ventures. The LBA had expanded to include 8 teams by 2006. In 2009, the Legends Group sponsorship expired, allowing the league to shed the name, although the champion's trophy is still known as the Legends Cup. In 2010, founding team Laeralsford Bears was terminated, with two new Laeralsford teams, the North Bank Titans and South Bank Tigers being introduced in the Bears' place.

While in early years teams often assumed corporate sponsorships, such as the Montrain Althea Lords and the Tolomer Rilos Ironmen, these sponsorships were discontinued by 2012 as teams became more profitable through ticket and merchandising sales alone. In 2016, the sale of exclusive LBA broadcasting rights to the prestige channel Cygne TV marked an era of new levels of exposure for the LBA, as stars such as Thomas Picot of the Miaoshi Legends began to amass nationwide followings.

Current Teams[edit | edit source]

Team Name Legends Cup Victories
North Bank Titans (Laeralsford) 0
South Bank Tigers (Laeralsford) 2
Althea Lords 2
Hanshui Dragons 4
Lyrene Blue Whales 0
Neidong Golden Monkeys 1
Auvergne Rivermen 0
Miaoshi Legends 6
Songshan Sturgeon 0
Minsheng Snow Leopards 1
Marist Elite 2
Therese Herons 0
Rilos Ironmen 1
Corday Rockets 0

The Miaoshi Legends, an expansion team, is the most successful LBA team by number of Legends Cup victories, first in 2008 and then several during a period of dominance from 2011 to 2018. The most recent Legends Cup winner is the Minsheng Snow Leopards. Although the two Laeralsford teams, the North Bank Titans and South Bank Tigers, typically have the greatest game attendance due to their location in the country's preeminent metropolitan area, neither is especially successful, although their predecessor, the Laeralsford Bears, won the Legends Cup in 2003. The Lyrene Blue Whales is largely considered the worst team in the country.