By Tom Degun at City Hall in London

Boris BasketballApril 8 - Mayor of London Boris Johnson has launched the 2013 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four here today, which will be staged in the UK for the first time ever next month when it visits The O2.

The Euroleague is the premier European club basketball competition with the event at The O2 set to see the four best teams of the season compete to be crowned champions.

The event is due to take place at The O2, which hosted the final stages of the Olympic basketball tournament at London 2012, from May 10 until 12 with 16,000 fans set to be in attendance.

The line-up for the event will be announced in the coming weeks when the season ends.

To mark the competition's first visit to London and the UK, a special Fan Zone will also be set up in Trafalgar Square while the competition takes place to promote the Euroleague Final Four and the sport.

"London is proud to be hosting the prestigious Euroleague finals, another testimony to this city's status as a top flight venue for elite fixtures," said Johnson.

"I am also pleased to welcome the free Fan Zone to Trafalgar Square giving everyone the chance to have a go at this great sport."

Fan ZoneA special Fan Zone will be set up in Trafalgar Square next month to promote the 2013 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four and the sport of basketball

Basketball has seen its popularity boosted following the London 2012 Olympic Games where NBA superstar Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls starred for the Team GB men's side.

A further boost came after British Basketball were awarded £7,039,840 ($10,721,676/€8,254,082) in funding from UK Sport to help it prepare for Rio 2016 after reversing their original decision to axe its funding while this summer, the London Lions are due to move into the Copper Box venue on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

British basketball star Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who was part of the Team GB side at London 2012 and currently plays for Spanish side Cajasol Sevilla, believes brining the Euroleague Final Four to the UK for the first time ever will help further increase the sport's popularity here.

Boris Johnson takes on Pops Mensah-Bonsu Euroleague launch City Hall April 8 2013London Mayor Boris Johnson takes on a young British basketball star at City Hall at the launch of the Euroleague Final Four, which is due to take place at The O2 

"The Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four is the biggest basketball event outside of the NBA Finals and the commitment by Euroleague confirms London as an up-and-coming city in basketball terms," said Mensah-Bonsu.

"I have no doubt the local support will be huge, much like when I played in the Paris Final Four event.

"I look forward to heading down to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Fan Zone in Trafalgar Square to shoot-some-hoops with the kids and share the love we all have for this sport."

The Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four will also be held at the O2 next year as part of a long-term plan to help the sport grow in the UK.

"Euroleague Basketball has a long-term vision in the UK beyond this year's Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four," said Euroleague Basketball President and chief executive Jordi Bertomeu.

"Initiatives like our 'One Team' programme demonstrate the positive impact sport can have on local communities and grassroots development."

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