Melbourne United will play Oklahoma City Thunder in October as part of an historic series of games between NBL and NBA clubs.
The NBL Executive Chairman and Owner Larry Kestelman and NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy made the announcement today.
Melbourne will play Oklahoma on 8 October at Chesapeake Energy Arena in the second of three matches between NBL and NBA teams.
Melbourne CEO Vince Crivelli said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for our club and I want to thank the NBA and NBL for making it possible. For our club to be chosen is a great endorsement of Melbourne United and the NBL in Australia.
“This is an opportunity to showcase Melbourne United on the biggest basketball stage in the world and for our players to test themselves against the world’s best.”
Oklahoma City Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti was thrilled to welcome United and take on the NBL.
“We are excited to welcome Melbourne United to Oklahoma City. This event marks our third opportunity to host an international team in Chesapeake Energy Arena, and we are proud to help continue the advancement of the game through these competitions.”
Melbourne player Chris Goulding said: “To take on a big NBA team on their home court will be a huge moment for myself and the rest of the Melbourne players and we can’t wait to experience it.”
Melbourne will travel to the U.S after its opening round game of the NBL season against the Adelaide 36ers on October 5. It will return for its second-round game against Adelaide on October 14.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) today announced that the Sydney Kings, Melbourne United and the Brisbane Bullets will take part in the 2017 NBA preseason in October, marking the first time that NBL teams will travel to the U.S. to play against NBA teams.
The Sydney Kings will visit the Utah Jazz, featuring Australians Joe Ingles and Dante Exum, on Oct. 2 at Vivint Smart Home Arena, followed by Melbourne United meeting the Oklahoma City Thunder on Oct. 8 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Brisbane Bullets will visit the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Oct. 13.
There were a record-tying eight Australian players on 2016-17 opening night NBA rosters, including Ingles and Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs), both of whom previously played in the NBL.