SYDNEY AND NEW YORK — The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) on Monday announced that the Sydney Kings, Melbourne United and the Brisbane Bullets will take part in the 2017 NBA preseason in October, marking the first time that NBL teams will travel to the U.S. to play against NBA teams.
The Sydney Kings will visit the Utah Jazz, featuring Australians Joe Ingles and Danté Exum, on Oct. 2 at Vivint Smart Home Arena, followed by Melbourne United meeting the Oklahoma City Thunder on Oct. 8 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Brisbane Bullets will visit the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Oct. 13.
There were a record-tying eight Australian players on 2016-17 opening night NBA rosters, including Ingles and Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs), both of whom previously played in the NBL.
Executive and Player Quotes:
NBL Executive Chairman and Owner Larry Kestelman:
“This is a huge moment for Australian basketball. For the NBL to be able to play some of the biggest teams in the world shows how far our league has come. I want to thank the NBA for this exciting opportunity to showcase the NBL on the world stage. For our teams to be chosen to come and play in the NBA preseason is a great endorsement of the NBL and Australian basketball. We currently have a number of Australians playing in the NBA, strong national teams in the Boomers and Opals, record participation levels and a flourishing national competition. This opportunity will only build more excitement ahead of the NBL season starting on Oct. 5.”
NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy:
“We are excited for the NBL to participate in the 2017 NBA preseason. Australia has proven to be a basketball powerhouse with a growing number of its players making their mark in the NBA and on the global stage. Australia remains one of our largest international markets for merchandise sales and NBA LEAGUE PASS, and these games mark a milestone moment for our two leagues.”
Utah Jazz President Steve Starks:
“The Jazz are the most internationally diverse team in the NBA, including two players from Australia. Our franchise is excited to host an NBL team from Sydney in the first game played at our newly remodeled Vivint Smart Home Arena on Oct. 2.”
Utah Jazz guard/forward Joe Ingles:
“This is massive for Australian basketball and an exciting opportunity for NBA and NBL players to compete together on the same floor. As an Aussie who began my career in the NBL and now entering my fourth season with Utah, I am very proud of the growth of the game in my home country and can’t wait for the Jazz and Salt Lake City to play host to Sydney this fall.”
Oklahoma City Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti:
“We are excited to welcome Melbourne United to Oklahoma City. This event marks our third opportunity to host an international team in Chesapeake Energy Arena, and we are proud to help continue the advancement of the game through these competitions.”
Phoenix Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough:
“We’re excited to host the Brisbane Bullets in Phoenix. It’s representative of the global expansion of the game and a great opportunity for our organization to connect with Suns fans in Australia and beyond.”
Sydney Kings Head Coach and five-time Olympian Andrew Gaze:
“This is another big leap forward for the NBL and Australian basketball. As somebody who played in the NBA I know how much this opportunity means. The NBL has always been very attractive for NBA players and is a pathway to the NBA, as the recent drafting of Terrance Ferguson showed. We also had a number of NBL players played in the NBA Summer League this year.”
About the NBA
The NBA is a global sports and media business built around three professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association and the NBA G League. The league has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 49 languages, and NBA merchandise for sale in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on 6 continents. NBA rosters at the start of the 2016-17 season featured a record 113 international players from 41 countries and territories. NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA App and NBA LEAGUE PASS. The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with more than 1.3 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.
About the NBL
The National Basketball League in Australasia is one of the of the premier basketball leagues in the world. Established in 1978 the League now has eight teams based in cities across the country — Adelaide 36ers, Cairns Taipans, Melbourne United, New Zealand Breakers, Perth Wildcats, Sydney Kings, Brisbane Bullets and Illawarra Hawks. Some of the NBL’s greatest players include former NBA player and five-time Olympian Andrew Gaze, 21-season scoring-machine Leroy Loggins, five-time championship-winner Larry Sengstock, and 500-game veterans Ray Borner and James Crawford. From humble beginnings, the NBL now sells out stadiums with more than 650,000 attending games each season and live TV coverage nationally. The NBL has NBL.com.au, and a live streaming NBL APP. The 2017-18 season will be its 40th as a league.