The NBA is once again set to extend its reach beyond the U.S. and Canada. On Wednesday, the San Antonio Spurs and the Minnesota Timberwolves will go toe-to-toe at Mexico City Arena as part of the NBA Global Games Mexico City 2013.
According to the league's press release, this will be the second regular-season game hosted by the Mexican capital and the 147th international contest of any kind staged by the Association since 1978. The Brooklyn Nets' matchup with the Atlanta Hawks at London's O2 Arena in January will be the 148th and will mark the first time the league has staged regular-season games in more than one country outside of its two current North American havens in the same season.
The NBA's ever-expanding international presence should come as little surprise to those who have studied David Stern's nearly 30-year tenure in New York. The outgoing commissioner has long played an integral part in spreading basketball around the globe. He pushed pros to play in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, helped the league make inroads in China and other emerging markets, and, more recently, has entertained altering the start times of some games to better accommodate international viewers.
Last fall, Stern hinted at the possibility of the NBA expanding overseas in a more direct fashion. As he told those gathered at a gathering of global team, league and industry executives last year (per the Associated Press): "I think for us the thing that would make the most sense would be a division in Europe at the time that it comes... I don't see that for another decade at least. Not one team."