After a winning away double-header weekend for London Lions, you could forgive Vince Macaulay and his players for being anything but over the moon.
Victories over Birmingham Knights and Cheshire Phoenix in the BBL Championship have boosted the side from the capital to a .750 record; so is this the love for the game returning to London? Macaulay thinks so.
“Basketball is huge in London now,” says the head coach and owner of the Lions. “Everyone is so excited at the moment!”
And everyone should be excited; tickets for January’s regular season NBA game at the O2 Arena between Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks sold out within hours, again proving the popularity and desire to have the game in this country.
Despite the Basketball Arena having been dismantled, the Copper Box’s legacy to the community has given a permanent residency now to the Lions – and to house a team with a positive record ticks a box for Macaulay.
“With the NBA coming over, the memories of the Olympics and the GB team; I just think it’s really exciting for basketball and we’re proud to be in that [the Copper Box Arena] facility and will do what we need to, in order to do it justice.
“On the floor, I feel we are now ahead of the game, we’ve only had a week with our full team, so we’ve got a lot more to come, but off the floor, everyone is feeling really positive,” says Macaulay, whose side has won its last four BBL Championship games to go 6-2, and could have easily been tied top if it were not for an overtime defeat at home to Worcester Wolves in October.
The vibes from taking to court in such surroundings seem to have rubbed off as well, but Vince is still aware of the pressure that comes with it: “Coming to play at an Olympic venue, seeing basketball in this setting, that we all would like to see it in, is great fun, not for us alone, but for everyone that’s coming here; we feel a little bit of a responsibility to make it happen that way.
“The Lions means something to everyone playing basketball in London.”