Who says it’s too far away to be thinking about the 2011 NBA Europe Live tour? Not BallinEurope, certainly, and apparently not EA Sports, Euroleague and the NBA: The organizations have released information on participating teams – and o boy, they’re good – for the October event.
The NBA teams playing in the annual hypefest are (drumroll please) the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves (hmm, one wonders why on this one; surely it has nothing to do with the team’s infamous Spain-residing first-round draft pick) and the New York Knicks. Representing The Continent will be – you guessed it – FC Barcelona, as well as AJ Milano.
Milano and Barça will be hosts for the event, holding court for the Knicks and Lakers, respectively. Lakers-Timberwolves and Knicks-Timberwolves games will be played in London and Paris.
BiE will let you know when tickets go on sale … we’re half-expecting that to be next week sometime. Official press release unofficially condensed (and, for no good reason, a YouTube clip of the Lakers-Barcelona game that was part of the 2008 tour) follows the break.
(NBA/Euroleague communications) — The Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, and New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association, and Regal FC Barcelona and AJ Milano from Euroleague Basketball, will play a series of preseason games this October as part of NBA Europe Live presented by EA Sports, the NBA, the Euroleague, and EA Sports announced today. Barcelona, London, Milan, and Paris will host the games.
Following the 2010 Europe Live Tour, 54 games featuring 23 NBA teams will have been played in 18 cities in Europe since 1988. The sold out 2009 tour was televised in 209 countries and territories and was supported by 18 marketing and promotional partners.
“For a fifth consecutive year, Euroleague Basketball and the National Basketball Association team up to offer fans in Europe the best basketball has to offer; some of the world’s most prominent basketball teams battling it out in some exciting preseason games,” said Euroleague Basketball CEO Jordi Bertomeu.“We are very happy to have entered this fifth season with the NBA and hope to continue developing the sport of basketball globally through such exciting collaborations and events.”
The 2010 NBA Europe Live tour schedule runs:
• October 3. New York Knicks vs. Armani Jeans Milano @ Milan Mediolanum Forum.
• October 4. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves @ The O2, London.
• October 6. New York Knicks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves @ Palais Omnisports Paris Bercy.
• October 7. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Regal FC Barcelona @ Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona.
Inaugural presenting partner since 2006, EA Sports will activate together with a range of local partners to bring the game closer to fans through a series of free interactive fan events in each host city, with details to be announced. Adidas will also return as a pan-European partner of NBA Europe Live for the fifth consecutive year and will utilize the tour to launch the company’s new rights as of October 2010 to commercialize on-court uniforms and apparel in Europe.
NBA Europe Live 2010 will tip off on October 3, when the New York Knicks take on Armani Jeans Milano at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan. AJ Milano, the most titled basketball team in Italy with 25 Italian championships, four Italian Cups and three European championship cups, is the former team of Knicks forward Danilo Gallinari (2006-08) and Knicks Head Coach Mike D’Antoni (1978-90). D’Antoni is the team’s all-time leading scorer and went on to coach the team for four seasons (1990-94), winning the Korac Cup in 1993.
The O2 in London will host NBA teams for the fourth consecutive year, when the 2008-09 NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers play the Minnesota Timberwolves on October 4. The Timberwolves, who played in London in 2007, will take on the Lakers, who will be making their first trip internationally since 1991, when they played games in Paris, France.
The French capital will host the Knicks and Timberwolves for their second contest on October 6 at the Palais Omnisports Paris Bercy. This will be the ninth game to feature an NBA team in Paris since 1991. The Knicks last played in Europe in 1990 in Barcelona.
The NBA Europe Live tour will conclude at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain, when the Los Angeles Lakers take on Regal FC Barcelona on October 7. The Lakers’ Pau Gasol, a two-time Most Valuable Player with Barça, will return to play against his former team. Renowned as one of the most formidable teams in European basketball history, FC Barcelona, who recently qualified for the 2010 Euroleague Final Four, counts five European titles, 15 Spanish League titles, and 20 Copa del Rey titles among its accomplishments.
In addition to the on-court action during NBA Europe Live 2010, the NBA will also conduct a variety of community events and programs in Barcelona, London, Milan and Paris as part of its NBA Cares initiative. Since 2005, the NBA family has helped create and build more than 465 places where children and families can live, learn or play around the world, including 16 in Europe as part of NBA Europe Live.