View Full Version : Nets, Raptors to play pair of regular-season games in Londo

08-09-2010, 12:24 PM
The NBA is breaking new ground by going across the pond. Monday's announcement of two regular-season games in London is a first for a league with a long history of taking its teams outside of North America.

The back-to-back games between New Jersey and Toronto, March 4-5 at London's O2 Arena, are the first to be played in Europe during the season. The league has held 13 regular-season games in Japan and Mexico since 1990.

"The staging of our first regular-season games in Europe is a milestone for the NBA and the ongoing development of basketball in the region," commissioner David Stern said in a statement. "By bringing these two young and exciting teams to London, we are fulfilling our commitment to schedule a regular-season game in the UK prior to the 2012 Olympics -- a natural progression given the overwhelming response to the many friendlies we have played to sold-out crowds over the years."

Also significant is the timing, with the games scheduled after the All-Star break. The league has opened the season in Japan several times and played in Mexico City in December 1997. The March meetings between the Atlantic Division foes mark the latest point in the season for internationally-hosted games. The playoffs begin in April.

The New Jersey and Toronto franchises have their share of international flare. Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov owns the Nets, while Toronto's roster features four Europeans. Raptors center Andrea Bargnani (Italy) was the first European No. 1 overall in pick in 2006.

The Nets are making their second trip to London, having played Miami in 2008 as part of NBA Europe Live. Toronto is headed to the UK for the first time.

Four NBA Europe Live games have sold out in London, including an upcoming preseason contest between the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The league staged its first game in London in 2007.

The NBA has taken a keen interest in promoting the growth of basketball in the United Kingdom. Over the last four years, the league reports, participation in the sport has doubled. The NBA also operates an office in London to bring the league closer to its European fan base.

Twenty-four teams will have played 56 games in 18 cities in Europe since 1988 with the conclusion of NBA Games -- London 2011. The league played its first regular-season games outside of North American between Phoenix and Utah in Tokyo in 1990.

Jack Daniels
08-09-2010, 01:02 PM
At least we're sending our two best to showcase the NBA :rolleyes:

John Walls Era
08-09-2010, 01:04 PM
I'm not a big fan of this. Basketball isn't that big over there. Why not a different country? China could probably fill out the Olympic stadium if Kobe played Lebron over there.

08-09-2010, 01:05 PM
what a shame I wont be back in England to watch those two titans battle it out

08-09-2010, 01:06 PM
Since you didn't provide the link, the other threads wins.