London has lost its annual NBA regular season game to Paris, it has been confirmed.

As was widely expected, the French capital has been granted a contest in 2020 with the Charlotte Hornets to face the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bercy Arena next January 24.

While The 02 Arena has sold out for nine regular games  – and previous pre-season clashes – since it began to attract NBA visits to the UK, league officials have privately expressed some dissatisfaction with a lack of growth in the British market rather than achieving an anticipated post-London 2012 bounce.

NBA sources insist that the door is not shut to a return, saying they are “confident” of a future date.

Help MVP create more great content – become a site supporter now.

However Paris will now stage what is expected to be an emotional return for Tony Parker and Nic Batum to their homeland in 2020 as the NBA look to capitalise on the build-up towards the Paris Olympics of 2024. In other words, expect the showpiece to remain there in 2021, and probably beyond.

“Our NBA Paris Game will showcase the continued global growth of basketball in one of the world’s greatest cities,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver declared.

“With France leading a record number of players from Europe in the league, we look forward to bringing together basketball fans from across the continent for the NBA’s first regular-season game in Paris.”

It marks the Hornets’ second game in Paris, having played a preseason game in 1994 against the Golden State Warriors.

Parker, in what could be his last campaign, will get a chance to bring his side home.

“It’s amazing the way the NBA is growing and now we’re going to play a regular season game in France, that’s pretty amazing,” he said.

“It’s a great honour for my country to receive a game like this and I’m especially proud that it’s the team that I play for that are coming. I’m sure it’s going to be an amazing event and an amazing game.

“For me, it’s unbelievable to play at home in front of all my family and all my friends. It’s going to be different because it’s a meaningful game, but that’s great.”

The Bucks will be playing their first game in France after featuring in London in 2015.

“The Charlotte Hornets are proud to have the opportunity to participate in the first NBA regular-season game in Paris,” said their chair Michael Jordan who captivated the city when the Chicago Bulls came to Bercy in 1997.

“Having played in the preseason in France during my career, I witnessed first-hand the passion the French fans have for NBA basketball.  We are excited to bring our team to Paris for this history-making event.”

Photo: NBAE/Getty


Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Print

You must be logged in to post a comment Login