David Stern may be stepping away next February, but his quest to make the NBA the dominant global brand for basketball is not going away. Still, he knows how to make a splash and the NBA is going to do that overseas in Stern’s final slate of overseas preseason games.
At the top of the list — Jeremy Lin and the Houston Rockets will travel to play in Taipei, Taiwan on Oct. 13. This is the second NBA preseason game in that nation but this is going to be more like a rock star coming to town — Lin remains very popular in the land of his grandparents.
We had already told you about the other part of that Rockets and Pacers trip — they also will play Oct. 10 in Manila, Philippines, the first NBA teams in the basketball crazy nation since 1979 when the Washington Bullets faced the Philippine national team in an exhibition.
Other games include:
• The Lakers and Golden State Warriors will play two games in China — in Beijing on Oct. 15 and Shanghai on Oct. 18. Kobe Bryant already makes an annual trip to China to promote Nike and he is a real rock star over there on a scale much bigger than even other NBA players. For Golden State, this is a chance for a West Coast team to grow its brand along the Pacific Rim.
• Oklahoma City and Philadelphia will be on European tour. OKC will start in Istanbul on Oct. 5 when it takes on local power Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul. The next night Philadelphia will take on Uxue Bilbao Basket in beautiful Bilbao, Spain.
Then the Sixers and Thunder will play an Oct. 8 exhibition against each other in Manchester, England.
• The Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards will travel south to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That is the city hosting the 2016 Olympics, and also the Wizards have Brazilian star Nene on their roster.
• David Stern said this about the schedule:
“Providing fans with an authentic NBA experience is an important part of our efforts to grow the game globally. This fall, nearly a third of our teams will embark on a global tour that will celebrate the game of basketball, give our international fans a chance to connect with NBA teams and players, and leave a lasting impact in each of the communities we visit.”