By Barry Janoff
May 29, 2014: The NBA is still immersed in the 2013-14 season, awaiting to crown a champion among the final four teams still vying for the title. Which will be followed by the NBA Draft on June 26.
But that has not stopped the league from unveiling its global plans for 2014-15, which include a spate of pre-season games in such locations as China, Turkey, Brazil and the U.K.; and two regular season games in the U.K. and Mexico.
Including the 2013-14 season, the NBA has played 147 international games since 1978 when the then Washington Bullets played Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.
These will be the first under the watch of commissioner Adam Silver.
The Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves will play at the Mexico City Arena on Nov. 12, a return to the venue in which last season's game between the Timberwolves and San Antonio Spurs was postponed due to a generator malfunction, which produced smoke inside Mexico City Arena. The teams played the rescheduled the game on April 8 in the Target Center in Minneapolis.
The second international game during the season will feature the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks in London's The O2 on Jan. 15.
"While London and Mexico City each have their own unique culture, they both have rich sports traditions and share a great passion for the NBA," Silver said in a statement. "These regular-season games will bring the excitement and incredible competition of our league to more fans in Europe and Latin America."
The pre-season games include the Spurs vs. Alba Berlin (Oct. 8 in The O2 World Berlin, Germany), the Spurs vs. Fenerbahçe Ülker Istanbul (Oct. 11, Ülker Sports Arena in Turkey), the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat (Oct. 11 HSBC Arena, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil); and two games in China between the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings (Oct. 12, Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai; Oct. 15, MasterCard Center, Beijing).
The four teams participating in the regular-season portion of NBA Global Games "reflect the strong international makeup of the league," according to the NBA. At the end of the 2013-14 regular season, those four teams had a combined 18 international players from 17 countries on their rosters.
"While London and Mexico City each have their own unique culture, they both have rich sports traditions and share a great passion for the NBA."
The NBA said it began the 2013-14 season with 92 players who came from 39 countries or territories outside of the U.S., led by ten from France and eight from Canada.
Along with the on-court action, NBA Global Games 2014-15 will feature a variety of off-the-court activities. They include NBA Cares community programs and interactive fan events in each city, as well as support from a variety of marketing and merchandising partners.
People who can't attend the games will be able to get real-time updates through the NBA Game Time App, on NBA.com, NBA social media channels and via NBA TV and NBA League Pass International.
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