The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) today 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 Dante 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.
NBL Executive Chairman and owner Larry Kestelman spoke to the significance of the announcement.
“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.” Kestelman said.
“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.”
One Aussie who will be suiting up against the Sydney Kings in Utah is Joe Ingles, who started his career winning the NBL Rookie of the Year award with the South Dragons at the time.
Ingles was particular proud of the announcement and his involvement.
“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.” he explained.
The games will feature none other than the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in Russell Westbrook as well as New Zealand born big man Steve Adams for OKC, these stars lining up against the likes of Chris Goulding and David Andersen for Melbourne.
Phoenix boast one of the most exciting young rosters in the NBA, with Devin Booker a future star following his 70-point outing last season.
Full NBA-NBL Preseason Game Schedule:
October 2, 2017 – Utah Jazz vs Sydney Kings @ Vivint Smart Home Arena
October 8, 2017 – Oklahoma City Thunder vs Melbourne United @ Chesapeake Energy Arena
October 13, 2017 – Phoenix Suns vs Brisbane Bullets @ Talking Stick Resort Arena