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ABU DHABI: Basketball teams Atlanta Hawks and 2021 NBA champions Milwaukee Bucks are due to play two pre-season games in the United Arab Emirates’ capital, Abu Dhabi, later this year.

In making the announcement, the National Basketball Association and the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism said the matches would take place at the city’s Etihad Arena on Yas Island on October 6 and 8.

The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 will mark the league’s first games in the United Arab Emirates and the Arabian Gulf. Tickets will go on sale on a date yet to be announced.

Atlanta Hawks General Manager Steve Koonin said, “The NBA continues to do incredible work to grow the game internationally, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in the inaugural NBA Games. in Abu Dhabi.

“As we look to the future of the Hawks brand, being recognized as a premier NBA franchise in the world is something we aspire to, and we believe the experience of our players and staff in the Abu Dhabi culture will be both incredibly memorable and impactful.

The Hawks currently field two-time NBA All-Star Trae Young, 2020 to 2021 NBA rebounding leader Clint Capela and 2018 NBA All-Rookie second team members John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

The Bucks meanwhile feature two-time Kia NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, three-time NBA All-Star Khris Middleton and three-time NBA All-Defensive Team member Jrue Holiday.

The two teams met in the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals, with the Bucks winning their first NBA championship in 50 years.

Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum President Peter Feigin said, “We are honored to have been selected to participate in the first NBA games in the United Arab Emirates.

“As the NBA continues to grow globally, we look forward to visiting Abu Dhabi and furthering the league’s goals of inspiring people through basketball. We will be proud to represent our city, our state and Bucks fans around the world in October.”

The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 will be streamed live in the United Arab Emirates and across the Middle East and North Africa on beIN SPORTS, The Sports Channel and NBA League Pass, NBA’s premium live game subscription service. the league. The games will reach fans in over 200 countries and territories around the world on television, digital and social media.

The event is part of a groundbreaking multi-year partnership between the NBA and DCT Abu Dhabi that earlier this year saw the launch of the first Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League, a youth basketball league for 450 boys and girls aged 11 to 14 from local schools across the city.

The partnership also includes a variety of interactive fan events featuring current and former NBA players, a series of NBA FIT clinics promoting health and wellness, and an NBA 2K League exhibition event at the Middle East Film and Comic-Con.

DCT Abu Dhabi Managing Director Saleh Mohamed Al-Geziry said: “We are delighted to host the UAE’s first NBA games in Abu Dhabi and we look forward to welcoming the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and basketball fans from all over the world to experience this amazing city and experience our authentic Emirati culture for themselves.

“Basketball has the ability to unite communities, and the spirit of the game will be felt by players and visitors, both on and off the court. The unveiling of the NBA teams marks an important milestone in our broader partnership with this world-class sports organization,” he added.

The partnership will also see DCT Abu Dhabi, as part of its Visit Abu Dhabi tourism promotion initiative, serve as the NBA’s Official Tourism Partner in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and China.

More than 220 male and female prospects from the Middle East – including five players from the United Arab Emirates – have participated in Basketball Without Borders or the NBA Academy, the league’s elite basketball development programs for top prospects from outside the United States.

Since 2019, more than 500 youngsters have also participated in NBA Basketball School Dubai (UAE), a year-round tuition-based basketball development program for boys and girls aged 6 at 18 years old.