MEXICO CITY — On the eve of the NBA’s thirty second recreation in Mexico Metropolis since 1992, league commissioner Adam Silver assured media and followers on Thursday that the competition between the Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks wouldn’t be the swan music for contests performed within the Mexican capital.
“The possibilities are very excessive that we are going to be again subsequent yr,” Silver stated concerning the potential of Mexico seeing extra NBA video games. “I do not know but whether or not will probably be one or two video games. I feel, frankly, our schedule has gotten so sophisticated as a result of we’re making an attempt to keep away from as many as 4 video games out of 5 nights as we will. We attempt to keep away from as many back-to-backs as we will.”
Silver joked that he created a “scheduling nightmare” for his colleagues within the league workplace with the addition of the NBA in-season match, which debuted earlier this month. The inaugural model of this competitors, partly modeled on European soccer cup competitions, will conclude with the semifinals and finals performed in Las Vegas on Dec. 7 and 9.
The league may also stage a world regular-season recreation in Paris between the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 11. It’s the NBA’s second consecutive season staging a recreation in France.
Silver famous that regardless of the added scheduling problem, the league’s dedication to having extra video games in Mexico stays sturdy.
“Having stated all that, positively we’ll be again,” Silver stated. “I moved up from extremely more likely to positively. We might be again subsequent yr with no less than one recreation, and we’ll see whether or not it is two video games.”
Hawks star Trae Younger, who led Atlanta to a 120-119 win with 41 factors and eight assists, stated he loved the expertise.
“I beloved the vitality within the area tonight,” Younger stated. “The electrical energy was superb. It was enjoyable taking part in right here. I do know, clearly, the league’s going to broaden to a few extra cities. I’d be open to taking part in right here a couple of times a yr. So far as the followers go, you may inform they actually love basketball right here. I would not thoughts taking part in right here.”
No different nation outdoors the USA and Canada has hosted as many NBA video games as Mexico. The league’s first regular-season contest in Latin America dates to Dec. 7, 1997, when the Houston Rockets beat the Dallas Mavericks 108-106 on the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico Metropolis. Since then, an extra 12 video games have been performed on the venue, together with Thursday evening’s contest.
Silver additionally expressed the league’s want to broaden its footprint in Mexico and Latin America. Mexico Metropolis is residence to the G League’s Capitanes de Ciudad de Mexico, the primary NBA-affiliated staff based mostly in Latin America. Although the commissioner was coy on specifics, he as soon as once more talked about the league’s curiosity to have an NBA franchise based mostly in Mexico.
“We see this as a gateway, basically, to the remainder of Latin America,” Silver stated. “We expect, whether or not or not it’s further G League franchises in Mexico Metropolis and finally a bigger footprint right here in Latin America or finally the dream of an NBA franchise coming to Mexico Metropolis in the future.”
The commissioner expressed that the preliminary thought of an NBA franchise taking part in in Mexico dates “a few years in the past” to the late David Stern, his former boss.
“It was dope. It was so dope,” Magic guard Jalen Suggs stated. “What a blessing this was. Taking part in an NBA recreation in a special nation, completely different followers, completely different setting. They’ve embraced us the entire time we have been right here.”
Twenty-three NBA groups have performed no less than as soon as in Mexico Metropolis over the previous 31 years. Whereas the Magic performed their third recreation since 2018, it was the Hawks’ first contest in Mexico and first regular-season competitors outdoors the USA and Canada.
“It is thrilling for them to be in a special venue,” Silver stated. “The groups acquired right here on Tuesday. They’ve had the chance to spend a while within the metropolis the previous couple of days, do some cultural issues, be a part of a clinic for teenagers and naturally follow and prepare for the sport.”