The British Basketball League could have a franchise in Belfast by the year 2012, Ireland's most-capped international player has said.Gareth Maguire made the statement at the launch of the Belfast Basketball Classic, a four-team tournament featuring the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, Australian NBL team the Melbourne Tigers, as well as the national sides of England and Scotland.
Maguire told the BBC: "This tournament is a stepping stone towards the [BBL] franchise."
It is proof we can run events like these. Wouldn't it be a fantastic story to launch this team at the Olympics in September 2012? That is what our aim is."
The Panthers, Pittsburg University's team, are one of the biggest names in American basketball, while the Tigers -- owned by former Belfast man Seamus McPeake -- are one of the top outfits in the Australian NBL. Both are watched regularly by crowds of 20,000.