For most people who live and work in the English capital, going to watch an NBA or NFL game is something of a pipe dream, because the cost of air fares and stadium tickets mean only the wealthiest in society can go.
That has, of course, changed in recent years, as the likes of the NFL have brought select regular season games to Wembley stadium and some budding NBA players have even sought experience in the UK’s top basketball league, the BBL.
Perhaps it is developments such as these that have meant a trickle of London-born talent is beginning to make its mark on the major sports leagues on the other side of the Atlantic.
In this article we highlight just some of the stories of American football and basketball players who dared to dream of making it stateside and did everything possible to make those dreams a reality.
Although his family moved to the US when he was still young, Obi Melifonwu can never get away from the fact that he was born and raised in London Town. He then went on to find his way with the NCAA team at the University of Connecticut where his performances as a standout safety earned him try-outs with multiple top NFL franchises.
When the NFL draft process neared most sports betting experts and tipsters fully expected him to be a second-round pick at the very least, because he was rated as being one of the best safeties in the whole college system.
In the end he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders where he spent a frustrating amount of time on the injured reserve list without regularly appearing on NFL moneylines.
However, his career soon picked up after that as he moved to the vaunted New England Patriots, where he made history by being part of the Super Bowl LIII winning squad, providing some of the key tackles that delivered results for the majority of fans who had selected the NFL betting odds on offer for Tom Brady and Co. to win.
Melifonwu now plies his trade with the San Francisco 49ers, who many sports bettors believe could be good in with a shout for next season’s Super Bowl title.
Shooting hoops in places like Finsbury Park or Brixton is a far cry from the glamour of the NBA, but some of these men managed to do the seemingly impossible
He may not have a Super Bowl triumph to his name, but Londoner Jermaine Eluemunor has arguably had a more impressive run in the NFL than his compatriot Melifonwu. This is down to the number of times he has risen from practice squads to become a dark horse performer at first the Baltimore Ravens and then the New England Patriots.
Eluemunor is all set to help New England become a major Super Bowl contender again in the 21/22 NFL season.
Steve Nash and Luol Deng
While the NFL has been a relatively fertile stomping ground for athletes from London, the NBA has been an altogether tougher nut to crack. While some big names like Luol Deng, who grew up in South London, have lit up the NBA boards and made millions of dollars in the process, there are currently no British players operating in the league.
However, one of the sport’s biggest ever names, Steve Nash, does have a very strong tie to London, because his father is from Tottenham. This engendered a love of football as well as basketball in Nash, who for a long time during his prime years also considered pursuing a career as a footy player.
So, even if they have no one to currently cheer on, Londoners can at least point towards All-Stars like Steve Nash and Luol Deng as their NBA forefathers.