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NBA resumes global game with confidence after pandemic hiatus│GMA News Online

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Japan’s Rui Hachimura and France’s Kilian Hayes will have a chance to play in front of their home fans at the NBA Global Games, which resume next month after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japan and Abu Dhabi will have pre-season competitions, while Paris and Mexico City will host regular season matches. The NBA has thrilled audiences around the world, with nearly 70% of his social media followers coming from outside the United States.

NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum told AFP on Thursday, “We are very excited to bring a live game to fans around the world.

“It’s how we connect cultures, connect people, connect fans.”

Last season, telecasts of NBA games were already watched by fans in 214 countries in more than 50 languages, but Tatum said the return to live games abroad was “a key part of our business strategy. part.

“For hundreds of millions of fans around the world, there is nothing like going to an NBA game, and we want our fans to experience the game live.”

With 25% of its players from outside the United States, the NBA felt comfortable and confident with its teams returning overseas this season after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

“The past two years have been very difficult because of the pandemic,” Tatum said. “Our primary concern is to ensure that the game can be conducted in a safe and secure manner.”

With 97% of its players and 100% of its staff vaccinated, the NBA consulted with doctors, medical experts and stakeholders in each city before finalizing its global schedule.

“As the world has learned, we have learned to move forward with Covid. Now is the right time. increase.”

This includes the Milwaukee Bucks, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Atlanta Hawks, who will play their first NBA game in the Arabian Gulf when they play preseason games in Abu Dhabi on October 6 and 8.

“They have world-class facilities,” Tatum said. “They know how to do it well.”

The reigning NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, will travel to Japan for preseason games on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2 to take on Washington, who has Japanese forward Hachimura.

“It’s going to be huge considering the pride they have for him,” Tatum said. “Those things are important. It’s going to get people excited.”

Tatum expects a similar thrill when the Chicago Bulls take on Hayes and the Detroit Pistons in a regular-season game in Paris on Jan. 19.

“It’s great to have Cillian Hayes playing for his country,” Tatum said.

He also expects NBA fans across Europe to attend the game in Paris. of Montenegro.

The Miami Heat and San Antonio Heat play their regular season games in Mexico City on December 17th.

NBA eyes India and Africa

More global games are in development, Tatum said, saying, “There are more markets that need games than we can afford.”

“It’s a big world. I’ve played in many places, but I still have a lot of opportunities.”

Germany, Italy and Greece have some potential in Europe, while London has several competitions.

In total, the league has played 205 games in 20 non-U.S. and Canadian cities since 1978.

“I’m going to go back to India one day,” Tatum said, adding, “I got to see preseason and regular season games in Africa.”

In the final 2019-20 season before the pandemic hit, the NBA played preseason contests in India, Japan and China, and regular season games in Mexico and France.

Last season, the NBA had a record 121 foreign players from 40 countries, including 18 from Canada and 7 from Germany.

The last four NBA Most Valuable Player awards have gone to Denver Nuggets’ Serbian Nikola Jokic in 2022 and 2021, and Milwaukee’s Greek star Antetokounmpo in 2019 and 2020.

The two, along with Cameroon’s star big man Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, were last season’s three MVP finalists and also the first global talent in the NBA. — Agence France-Presse