It has been confirmed that current NBA champs, the Lakers, will be playing a pre season game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the London O2 Arena in October 4. This will be the first time the Los Angeles team to play in Europe since 91’. Last season was the Bulls whom played here against the Utah Jazz in a tied game that was won by Chicago 102-101, and before them, the Miami Heat met the Nets in a 94-92 victory for New Jersey in England’s capital city.
This is actually the 5th year in a row that the NBA has been playing games in the old continent, with the United Kingdom hosting the most matches with four.
Back in 1991, Magic Johnson contributed to the victory of the Lakers over Joventut Badalona, a team from Spain in the finals for the McDonald’s Open held in Paris, France.
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This time around, Los Angeles will be bringing another All-Star to the UK as Kobe Bryant is ready to display his talents at the O2 after playing with Team USA at the World Championship that will take place in Turkey in September.
After this date at London, the Lakers will be heading to Spain where they will play FC Barcelona on October 7 in a game that will see Pau Gasol playing against the basketball team where he played professionally for the first time.
On the other hand, Minnesota will take a trip to Paris to play the Knicks before they play the Lakers at London.
David Stern, the NBA commissioner, said that he is looking forward to see the most well known team of the league playing in Europe, and also pointed out that the past tournament was quiet positive in terms of promotion and team bonding for the Timberwolves whom played the Celtics in a game that was won by Boston. According to him, the Twolves enjoyed the whole process a lot and are anxious for returning to Europe.
When the Bulls played at the O2 Arena, the main attraction was small forward Englishman Luol Deng who got back home and was well received by his fellow countrymen, and, according to Stern, the decision to bringing the Lakers to play at this Arena was based on the fact that Kobe Bryant is a well recognized and admired player, and he and the Lakers were certainly the best options this time as they could not count with a native player that could serve Deng’s purpose.
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