Liga Națională (men's basketball)
The Liga Națională (English: National League) is the top-tier professional basketball league of Romania. Founded in 1950, the winner of the league is crowned the Romanian national champion. Currently, the league exists of 24 teams playing in three different divisions. The most successful club in the league's history is Dinamo Bucureşti, which has won a record 22 titles. Teams from the Liga Națională also participate in European competitions, as they can qualify for the Basketball Champions League and FIBA Europe Cup through their season results.
|Confederation||Romanian Basketball Federation|
|Number of teams||24|
|Level on pyramid||1|
|Domestic cup(s)||Romanian Cup|
|Current champions||CSM U Oradea|
|Most championships||Dinamo Bucureşti (22 titles)|
|TV partners||Digi Sport |
|2019–20 Liga Națională|
The championship was founded in 1932. The most successful club is Dinamo Bucureşti with 22 titles, followed closely by Steaua Bucureşti with 21. But in recent years Asesoft Ploieşti is the best team in the country, winning the championship seven times in a row from 2004–10 and again in 2012–2014. Asesoft is the only Romanian team who won a European competition, namely the FIBA EuroCup Challenge, in 2005.
Until 2018 were in general 12 teams in men's Liga Națională which played the season in 3 rounds. First round consisted of a regular season which began in October and was played over a normal round-robin home-and-away basis. Then the first six clubs at the end of the regular season played a play-off round and the last 6 a play-out round. The first eight clubs (all 6 from the play-off and the first two places from the play-out) qualified for the play-offs. The play-offs are played using the knock-out format. The quarter-finals, semifinals and finals use "best of five" series since 2014. The last two teams following the last 6 teams play-out were automatically relegated to the Liga I.
On 23 May 2018, Board of Directors of the Romanian Basketball Federation decided to reform the system entirely. Following this decision, the second level on the Romanian Basketball pyramid, Liga I was dissolved. In the Liga Națională were formed 3 groups (A, B and C), based on performance, financial and infrastructure criteria.
In the first round of the championship, a regular season is played over a normal round-robin home-and-away basis, in each group. Then in the second round, first 6 teams from the Group A are assigned to the "Red Group"; 7th and 8th placed teams in the Group A, first 3 teams from the Group B and the winner of the Group C, are assigned to the "Yellow Group"; the teams ranked between 4th and 8th place in the Group B and the 2nd place from the Group C, are assigned to the "Blue Group"; finally the teams ranked between 3rd and 8th place in the Group C are assigned to the "Green Group".
In the second round, all the teams from the "Red Group" start with all the points from the regular season, in the rest of the groups, all teams will start with zero points.
In the third round of the championship, the first 2 teams from the "Yellow Group" will enter along with the "Red Group" teams in the play-offs. The play-offs are played using the knock-out format. The quarter-finals, semifinals and finals use "best of five" series. To determine the teams ranked between 5th and 8th place, is used the "best of three" system. The other remaining teams form two 8 team groups to determine the final classification.
Notable Liga Națională playersEdit
Romanian basketball had a bright past with three of its former players being inducted in the European Basketball Hall of Fame, as a recognition for their careers. They are:
- Gheorghe Mureșan – Signed in 1993 with the Washington Bullets, becoming the tallest player ever in the NBA. Played six successful seasons with the Bullets and the New Jersey Nets, averaging a career 9.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 0.5 assists. Named NBA Most Improved Player following the 1995–96 NBA season. Began his career playing two years for Universitatea Cluj-Napoca.
- Antonio Alexe – Played all his career in the Romanian and Hungarian basketball leagues. Became Romanian champion three times, twice with Asesoft Ploiești and once with West Petrom Arad, before dying in a tragic car accident, in 2005.
- Constantin Popa – After debuting in Divizia A for BC Dinamo Bucureşti, went overseas to play for the University of Miami in NCAA Division I, becoming the tallest player ever in the history of the school. Drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1995 NBA Draft, he never played in the NBA, but had a successful career in the CBA, before returning to Europe.
- Cătălin Burlacu – Played in the Italian, Estonian and German basketball leagues, but he also played in Romania at West Petrom Arad and Asesoft Ploiești.With Asesoft Ploiești he has won the championship from 2004 to 2006 and from 2008 to 2014 excluding the 2011 season.
- Levente Szijarto – Played all his career in the Romanian basketball league at West Petrom Arad, U Mobitelco Cluj and Asesoft Ploiești.With Asesoft Ploiești he has won the championship between 2003 and 2014 except the 2011 season in which U Mobitelco Cluj won the title.
|Dinamo București||22||1953, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1965, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1983, 1988, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2003|
|Steaua București||21||1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991|
|CSU Ploiești||11||2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015|
|U Cluj-Napoca||5||1992, 1993, 1996, 2011, 2017|
|CSM U Oradea||3||2016, 2018, 2019|
|West Petrom Arad||2||2001, 2002|
|CSU Sibiu||2||1995, 1999|
|BCM U Pitești||1||2000|
|2000–01||West Petrom Arad||Asesoft Ploiești||3–0|
|2001–02||West Petrom Arad||Dinamo București||3–2|
|2002–03||Dinamo București||West Petrom Arad||3–2|
|2003–04||Asesoft Ploiești||Dinamo București||3–1|
|2004–05||Asesoft Ploiești||Dinamo București||3–1|
|2005–06||Asesoft Ploiești||Universitatea Cluj-Napoca||4–1|
|2007–08||Asesoft Ploiești||Universitatea Cluj-Napoca||4–3|
|2009–10||Asesoft Ploiești||Universitatea Cluj-Napoca||4–0|
|2010–11||Universitatea Cluj-Napoca||Asesoft Ploiești||4–2|
|2013–14||Asesoft Ploiești||CSM Oradea||3–2|
|2015–16||CSM U Oradea||Mureș||3–2|
|2016–17||U-Banca Transilvania||Steaua CSM Eximbank||3–0|
|2017–18||CSM U Oradea||Steaua CSM Eximbank||3–1|
|2018–19||CSM U Oradea||CSU Sibiu||3–1|
- Decizii ale Consiliului Director din 23.05.2018. frbaschet.ro (in Romanian)
- "Cum va arăta Liga Națională de Baschet Masculin sezonul viitor". totalbaschet.ro. Retrieved 28 May 2018.