Monday, August 9th, 2010 at 1:20 pm  |  46 responses

Nets, Raptors to Play Regular Season Games in London

Bad food, bad weather, and bad basketball. Gotta love it: “The New Jersey Nets and Toronto Raptors will play the first-ever NBA regular season games in Europe at the O2 Arena in London, England on March 4 and 5. ‘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,’ said NBA commissioner David Stern. ‘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.’ The league has staged one preseason game in London in each season starting in 2007 as part of its NBA Europe Live series. The Nets took on the Miami Heat in 2008, while this year’s game features the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves.”

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    They couldn’t have picked two shi*tier teams, could they?

  • David

    This is a really dull match up. It’s not like they are even going to have large fanbases here. However I will still be there and that’s what is most annoying.

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    At least they aren’t sending the Timberwolves. You would think that if Stern wanted to expand the appeal of the league overseas he would have had better teams represent the league. I hope the English riot over how bad these teams are when they play over there.

  • Danny_W_UK

    Sending the Nets and the Raptors, obviously without Bosh and Hedo. Still, it’s better than nothing, and I’ll do both days. As it’s March I hope that there is still some Playoff hopes alive for the teams. Tanking sucks to watch. Especialy at UK prices.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    During the regular season? Talk about bad jetlag…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    They should have sent a young team in the playoff race in the West (the Thunder/Blazers) and a young team in the playoff race for the East (the Bulls/Magic). How was this hard? Stern is sometimes a fu*king dope even though he is a brilliant businessman. I can understand not wanting to send the Lakers or the Heat as the logistics of them BOTH being there at one time would be chaos, but allowing two good teams to go at in potentially important playoff seeding games would make for really entertainment.

  • Overtime

    I agree with Eboy, but this will be a big deal, so I dont mind. Very, very important over here.

  • loaf

    2012 olymipcs games will piss over these scrub teams, im waiting for the olympics not spending crazy money to watch these!

    real UK ball fans want good teams!

  • WangChung

    Eh, I realize the League wants to expand its markets globally, but doesn’t it realize that UK sporting culture is firmly entrenched in football? English kids grow up wanting to become Steven Gerrard, not Devin Harris.

  • Overtime

    Dont be shortsighted folks. Is there any any doubt that football is the UK’s number 1 sport? Not atal, but there is equally no doubt that there are a HELL of alot of support for ball over here, millions upon millions of kids who adore Kobe LeBron and Wade much more than any Rooney or Gerrard, this has put a massive smile on my face

  • goattree

    You guys are all dumb.

    This game will be exciting to watch and if you don’t believe me, go watch some DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems highlights from Summer League, or the dunk comp video they made with Amir Johnson for proof.

    This game won’t mean much as both teams are battling to get out of the basement of the Atlantic, but they will have fun out there and give the home crowd a good show for their money.

    Not a playoff race is true, but don’t you think the season ticket holding fans deserve to see those games? The jetlag excuse would be valid if they were playing for playoff seeding, since it’s not going to be an issue these young gunz will be balling for the fun of it, which could be dangerous.

    A potential/casual fan of the game will be treated to a great game. If you’re a hardcore fan living in the UK and this isn’t good enough for your standards, then move to North America fool.

  • Yesse

    “Bad food, bad weather, and bad basketball.” Ohh, come on. The people in UK aren’t gonna like that. They had John Amaechi and he made a couple of changes to the league.

  • Mark

    Its good that a regular season game is here but the prices that tickets will be is stupid. Its understandable that their not gonna send the best teams at a crutial time of the season, but at least a game where there is one star, or golden state who play a high speed offensive game, would be more exciting

  • biggheorge77

    The thing that would have made most sense would be Bulls V Pistons
    Two storied franchises with UK qualified players playing against each other. It sells itself, and a great way to get UK press actually genuinely interested.

    But that would have been to easy i guess

  • WangChung

    @Overtime: I’m going to assume you’re a Brit (if not, take it easy on this poor Yank) since you commented on the popularity of ball there. Could you please expound on that? In the States, we have numerous grassroots programs for kids of all levels, and prep schools whose sole purpose is to get kids into the League (Oak Hill, that psuedo-school out in Vegas, etc.) These programs don’t exist simply because we adore ballplayers here; they exist because enough professional opportunities exist to make that path viable for a talented, young athlete.

  • andy

    “Bad food”

    There are over 300 languages spoken in London, a city of 7 million people; I’m pretty sure you could find any type of food from around the world you wanted – we even have American ‘food’ in branches of McDonald’s and Domino’s Pizza, for people who enjoy the taste of salty cardboard.


  • Jer Boi

    They should promote it as USA vs Canada in Europe haha

  • Migs

    Apparently, both games will be considered Nets home games… according to a season seat sales rep from MLSE

  • Overtime

    @ Wangchung, I am indeed a brit, and dont worry, I take no offense, thank you for posting a smart reaply instead of some of the garbage we see on here.
    While our grassroots system is VASTLY worse off than urs (in a lot of ways, this is something i feel very very strongly on), in terms of popularity basketball is incredibly popular here.
    SOmething that is scarely known, that in kids aged 7-16 ish, basketball is actually about joint 2nd with rugby in terms of participation. There are a great many number of clubs, school leagues etc, the difference is that here we have to focus on keeping the kids in the support etc and can not really lend much thought into getting them into it professionally.
    Of course, we have academies etc whose goal that is, but obviously numbers get smaller as kids get older.

    Of course, your system is much better, partly because it is entirely possible to create professional oppotunities from it (as u say). But in terms of popularity, our people who are purely fans of the game, the UK gets seriously underated

  • Overtime

    *’keeping the kids in the sport’ i mean, my bad

  • WangChung

    @Overtime: Thanks for your insight. Please understand that I never intended to use our grassroots basketball as the basis for comparison. I doubt any country in the world can rival the sheer enormity of it. If I could make a comparison to football though (if it’s stupid, ignore it; at best I’m a casual fan), I understand that Barcelona has its own youth programs for identifying/developing talent (Messi being most famous). Although I can’t be certain, I’m betting that Man U, Chelsea and the likes have similar programs as well. Perhaps teams here might want to look into establishing something similar there. But let’s leave that to folks smarter than us.
    P.S. I wouldn’t put too much stock into our grassroots ball. But don’t believe me; just read Beasley’s opinions of AAU ball.

  • Overtime

    @Wangchung, I agree with you. The problem with the U.K is that a great number of people are unwilling to accept ball as a proper sport, a lot of my countrymen appear to revel in complaining about guys who have less pride in Britain than you probably do lol.
    As for Beasley, definitely not a perfect system, but at least its there lol. USA kids can ‘see the road to the NBA’ from an early age, whereas our ‘road to the BBL (Our biggest league, for anyone not in the know) is much harder to see

  • WangChung

    @Overtime: If you ever find yourself having to convince kids to stick with the sport, please refer them to the Youtube video where Stuart Tanner makes Devin Harris look pedestrian.

  • Mark

    Theres hardly any coverage of basketball here, even our own team GB cant get any coverage on TV. Our games for the european championship qualifiers can only be seen on a web feed. If the UK wanna improve the sport in the country, they need to start exposing the sport to the public and this is a start.

  • goattree

    Biggheorge77 (is that a reference to the Mureshan Monster?) said it best, this should be Pistons vs Bulls. Both Ben Gordon and Loul Deng have British citizenship.

  • Overtime

    @ Wangchung. We did enjoy that lol.
    And Bulls Pistons would be good to market, if the Bulls didnt seem so likely to be in some real important games at that time of yearm they probably would have done it. (Bulls being one of the better known teams here aswell)

  • Silverselectjd

    Bad food? really? And the US supersizes its food because it’s the gourmet way…

  • Coney Islander

    Awesome idea, I just question Sterns choice to send 2 D-league teams over the pond.

  • Biggheorge77

    Goattree but of course!
    As for NBA in the Uk… We lucked out getting celtics – twolves in 07….

    We could always have the Steve Nash show in town… He could take some time out to watch spurs play football.

  • http://www.twitter.com/gerardhimself Gerard Himself

    I’m a Nets fan (a dutch one), and have some friends living in London… should I stay or should I go now?

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ The Promise

    Stupid. Stern just tryin to make more money by getting international exposure.

  • total scrotal implosion

    Hmmm, but the league lost 370 mil, players need to take a cut, but the league can afford this? Such bs

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    why not Pacers-TWolves!?!?!?! hahaha…and BAD FOOD?!lol, americans cant really look themselves in the mirror can they?!

  • Ronald

    It makes sense to send two awful teams who are likely not to get much attendance stateside. Sending them overseas to an NBA starved city (yet big) will just guarantee a attendance and revenue. @total scrotal implosion : fuel + accomodation is chump change to what these two games can bring to the NBA in merchandise, fan base and marketing. And, co-sign TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon. Whoever wrote this article is a dumb ass.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    @Eboy – A Pacers -vs- Philly game could look as bad if Evan Turner is not as good as advertised….? :/

  • http://www,myczechrepublic.com SAB

    lol @ andy, and @ total scrot… how much money do you think this will cost the league, exactly?! i can’t see it being an expensive trip. the food comment is ridiculous, get yo ass to Brick Lane and sample some good Indian food, it’ll blow your mind

  • http://www.hypebball.com Sam Raphael Chadwick

    So glad we get a regular season game, now all they need to do is show it on British TV like the BBC or ITV. Once all the people see all the high-flying dunks of Demar Derozan and Sonney Weems, and Favors, etc etc then they will show some more respect for the game over here and see the sheer athletisism of these guys. Popularity is already gaining in the UK thanks to team GB who are doing well in their Eurobasket Qualifiers. 2 – 0 so far :) .

  • Ben

    It’s great that we’re getting a regular season game, albeit a bit of an obvious choice- the Nets would never sell out a home game against the Raptors, and none of the bigger teams would give up a home game at a key point in the season.

    It’s all good for us UK fans though, looking forward to being there. Anyone know how much they are going to sting us for tickets?

  • mister8

    @wanchung and overtime…
    I’m from holland, amsterdam to be specific, and the problem is not the exposure to basketball (tv, internet), the problem is coaching.
    Not a lot of people of can teach the kids at a high level.

  • LOAF

    the food comment is crazy… we got nearly everything well if not every type of food going!

    dumbass? Demar and Sonny Weems? yeah granted they can jump bit still thats about it…..

    but you need at least one star not even SUPER just a star, i would settle for Dirk, Nash, amare!? or D rose!?

    whats the raptors and nets got…? Devin Harris or Lopez? and the raptors…. well say nothing more

  • JoeMaMa

    So everyone hating on the Raptors can go grab their ankles in a prison shower. You’re young and athletic. We won’t win much this year, but we’ll be exciting, as we’ve got young talent who’ll run.
    And Stern picked these two teams because, in March, he doesn’t want to subject two playoff teams to the hectic schedule that could mess up important games afterwards. He chose two teams that won’t be great, but will showcase an exciting brand of basketball nonetheless. New fans to basketball like big scoring games, a fast pace, and lots of dunks. I guarantee that Toronto (and I guess NJ?) will have at least that next season.
    A Raptor fan through thick and thin.

  • Ali

    NBA Europe Live 2010 baby! I’ll be there in London, trying to work Barcelona trip too…One of the better things D. Stern had done for The Association.

    Knicks vs. Armani Jeans Milano – 3 Oct 10 (Milan)
    Lakers vs. Minn – 4 Oct 10 (London)
    Knicks vs. Minn – 6 Oct 10 (Paris)
    FC Barcelona vs. Lakers – 7 Oct 10 (Barcelona)

  • cool j

    LOL all that hate for the Nets and the Raptors…
    It is a regular season game so do u rather watch exhibition meaningless bball game?
    I rather watch sonny or Demarcus than Hedo(lazy) Turkolu any day any time.A lot of sheeps on this board who follow the NBA hype!

  • Ali

    THANK YOU MARK @ 3:38pm! Euro Basketball has to long way to go as far as world-wide exposure goes. Any NBA team coming this way is plus. And if your a true NBA fan, have the time and money, and get good seats you’d go see any NBA team play live. And as far as money goes and the NBA, money is never an issue, TRUST!

  • goattree

    @ LOAF – The star of the Raptors that you’re looking for is named Andrea Bargnani. Just wait and see….

  • JD

    This is a pretty big deal for me u no Americans are really lucky to have such great quality Ball on their doorstep