Basketball League in Serbia was founded in the year 2006 and it is the highest professional basketball league in Serbia.
It consists of 18 teams in total, and one of the largest league in Europe though it follows a unique format which does not allow all teams to face each other. It is operated by the Basketball Federation of Serbia.
The format is that it is joined by two clubs, the Serbian First League which has 14 teams and the Serbian Superliga has 8 teams. Serbian First League’s top six teams will be selected to play in Serbian Superliga and the top four teams of Adriatic League.
The best 4 teams will compete in the Playoff round and will qualify for the next season of Adriatic League. The teams who are ranked 13th and 14th will be demoted to a lower league called the Basketball League of Serbia – B.
Arena standards of Basketball League in Serbia is that each team should have an arena that could occupy seats with the capacity of minimum of 1000 seats.
The first basketball league in Serbia was formed in 1945 but it was called as the Yugoslavian League.
Adriatic League or Liga ABA
Liga ABA or Adriatic League is a high-level basketball league which consists of different teams from different countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Crotia, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. The league is running with domestic leagues of each of the countries like Košarkaška liga Srbije, A1 Liga, Prvenstvo BiH, 1. SKL and Opportunity Liga. After the Adriatic League’s regular and post-season is finished, each teams will compete in their own countries’ tournament.
It was founded in 2001, organized by the Slovenian limited capability liability company called Sidro. The Adriatic Basketball Association is the group that organizes and plans for the league and is a member of ULEB and a voting member of Euroleague board. Because of that, Adriatic League can be recognized as a local version of the Euroleague.
The Adriatic League was created last July 31, 2001 consisting of 12 teams and the start of the competition was in the fall of 2001. At first, it had 4 teams from Slovenia, 4 Teams from Croatia, 3 teams from Bosnia-Herzegovina and 1 from FR-Yugoslavia. It is also formed by the legal entity Adriatic Basketball Association that assesses and manages its daily operations and events.
From season 2001 to 2006, the competition is known as Goodyear League due to a commercial sponsorship and naming rights of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. In the 2002-2003 season, the league has 12 teams, with one team gone, the Israeli Maccabi Tel Aviv joined the league. After a season, Maccabi Tel Aviv dropped out of the league but the league expanded to 14 teams in 2003-2004 season to 16 teams in 2004-2005 season.
In 2006, the league signed a general sponsorship contract with NLB or the Nova ljubljanska banka and was called NLB League since then.
In 2010, the Czech team Nymburk participated in the league for the first time.
The season follows a double robin schedule like most of the European Leagues, with each team facing each other team at home and away. The top teams of the regular season will compete in the Playoff round. In 2002 to 2004, four teams are selected and called the Final Four. Though starting from 2005, eight teams are qualified to the Final Eight playoff round.
Each playoff round has a one-off knockout games, which differs from other European Leagues. However, because the Adriatic League teams can participate in domestic leagues simultaneously and some also are playing in the Euroleague, the current format has right of limiting fixture congestion for the playoff sides.