The Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets will take a trip to London during the middle of the 2016-17 season in an effort to expand the NBA beyond its typical North American borders.
The NBA and Anschutz Entertainment Group made the joint announcement on Thursday, per NBA.com, and noted that the regular-season contest will take place on Jan. 12, 2017 at The O2. It will be a home game for the Nuggets, and the team shared a hype video following the release of the news:
The showdown will mark the first time either team has traveled to the United Kingdom for a game.
According to NBA.com, Thursday’s announcement was made from the league’s European headquarters in London with some help from Nuggets guard Gary Harris. NBA UK passed along a look at the Michigan State product taking in some of the sights:
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver commented on the decision to play the game in London, per NBA.com: “We are thrilled to return for our seventh regular-season game in London. With almost 25 percent of players in the NBA born outside of the United States, we are seeing firsthand the global growth of our game, which has never been more popular in the U.K.”
Pacers superstar Paul George also discussed his team’s upcoming trip, per NBA.com: “I’m really excited and thankful the NBA is allowing us to reach out to our fans in London. This is a great exposure for our team and our franchise. I think it will be a great experience for use and the fans in attendance.”
George will be one of the primary attractions for the international fans who don’t often get the opportunity to see the NBA in person. He is a three-time All-Star, a three-time member of the All-NBA Third Team and a three-time member of an NBA All-Defensive Team, including the first team in 2013-14.
The 26-year-old is one of the brightest young stars in the game and will look to help the United States earn a gold medal against international competition during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
As for the Nuggets, Danilo Gallinari posted 19.5 points per game last season, and 20-year-old Emmanuel Mudiay earned NBA All-Rookie Second Team designation after averaging 12.8 points and 5.5 assists per night in 2015-16.
What’s more, Kenneth Faried helped the United States win the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
The Pacers have been to the playoffs in five of the past six years, but the Nuggets have not reached the postseason since the 2012-13 season.
The NBA’s announcement pointed out that the NBA Global Games London 2017 will include more than just the actual game. There will be NBA Cares community events and some Jr. NBA community programs in London that will ideally bring the experience of the league to more than just those who get tickets to see the Pacers and Nuggets.
Tickets will be on sale at the start of the 2016-17 campaign.