Regular-season NBA games are to be played in London in March next year as the league has made good on their pledge to support basketball in the United Kingdom ahead of the 2012 Olympics. David Stern, the NBA commissioner, yesterday confirmed the Toronto Raptors will play the New Jersey Nets on March 4 and 5 next year at the O2 Arena. The game will follow four consecutive seasons in which the NBA have played pre-season friendlies at the O2, with the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA champions, due to play Minnesota there in October this year.
"To me this is the next step in the progression about which we spoke leading up the London Olympics, which for us present an extraordinary opportunity for the continued growth of basketball in Europe and the NBA," Stern said. He added that he wants to build on momentum being created by Great Britain's qualifying campaign for the European Championships, which continued with a 104-96 overtime win over Macedonia in Newcastle on Sunday.
"I think it's great the sport is getting this coverage and I hope it will continue to get it in a positive way as fans in the UK get to see basketball at the highest level." * Press Association