For the first time ever, a regular-season NBA game will be played in Europe. In fact, the New Jersey Nets and Toronto Raptors will play two games at the O2 Arena in London in March. From the AP:
LONDON — The NBA is taking regular-season games to Europe for the first time.
The teams will face each other March 4 and 5 at the O2 Arena, the same venue that has hosted preseason games over the last several years.
Stern said on a conference call he wasn’t yet sure if the regular-season games would be an annual occurrence for the league.
“We’ll need to assess how we do in March,” Stern said. “It would not surprise me if this becomes an annual event. But I don’t want to make a commitment on it.”
The NBA has been looking to expand overseas for years, and Stern has said in the past he would like to play a meaningful game in London before the city hosts the Olympics in 2012.
It’s not surprising that the Nets — even coming off a very, very bad season — are one of the teams who will play these contests. New owner Mikhail Prokhorov, the league’s first foreign owner, has been persistent about his desire to make his new franchise a global icon for basketball. Playing games in Europe certainly isn’t a bad start.