Under commissioner David Stern, the NBA has made a conscious effort to expand its brand and the sport of basketball internationally. After playing games in London and China this season, the league is taking its preseason schedule even farther abroad next season, as eight preseason games are set to be played in Europe, Asia and even South America this October.
“Providing fans with an authentic NBA experience is an important part of our efforts to grow the game globally,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern, via NBA.com. “This fall, nearly a third of our teams will embark on a global tour that will celebrate the game of basketball, give our international fans a chance to connect with NBA teams and players, and leave a lasting impact in each of the communities we visit.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder will start things off by heading to Istanbul, Turkey to play the Turkish squad Fenerbahce on Oct. 5. Then the Philadelphia 76ers will take on Uxue Bilbao in Spain on Oct. 6, two days before the Thunder and 76ers do battle with one another in Manchester, England.
In what should end of being two of the more talked about games on the slate, Jeremy Lin and the Rockets will travel to Taiwan and the Philippines to play two separate games against the Indiana Pacers. Then the Chicago Bulls will take on the Washington Wizards in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with the international schedule wrapping up with the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers duking it out in both Beijing (Oct. 15) and Shanghai (Oct.18).
It’s certainly an exciting time for international NBA fans and although Stern is handing over the commissioner reigns to his protege Adam Silver in February 2014, we can still expect the NBA to continue to expand globally.
Here is the full schedule of the 2013 international preseason games:
|Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul||Oct. 5||Istanbul, Turkey||Ulker Sports Arena|
|Philadelphia 76ers vs. Uxue Bilbao Basket||Oct. 6||Bilbao, Spain||Bizkaia Arena at the BEC|
|Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ers||Oct. 8||Manchester, England||Manchester Arena|
|Houston Rockets vs. Indiana Pacers||Oct. 10||Manila, Philippines||Mall of Asia Arena|
|Houston Rockets vs. Indiana Pacers||Oct. 13||Taipei, Taiwan||Taipei Arena|
|Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards||Oct. 12||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||HSBC Arena|
|Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers||Oct. 15||Beijing, China||MasterCard Center|
|Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers||Oct. 18||Shanghai, China||Mercedes-Benz Arena|