MELBOURNE AND NEW YORK – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) today announced that the Adelaide 36ers will travel to the U.S. to play two games against NBA teams as part of the 2022 NBA preseason, marking the fourth time in six years that NBL teams will participate in the NBA preseason.
The 36ers will go up against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, Oct. 2 at Footprint Center, followed by a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday Oct. 6 at Paycom Center.
The Suns and Thunder both feature players who previously played in the NBL: 2021-22 Kia NBA All-Rookie Second Team member Josh Giddey (Thunder; Australia), 2022 No. 11 overall pick Ousmane Dieng (Thunder; France; ties to Senegal), Jock Landale (Suns; Australia) and Torrey Craig (Suns; U.S.). Giddey won the 2021 NBL Rookie of the Year Award while playing for the 36ers as part of the NBL Next Stars program, the NBL’s player development program to help fast track future stars. Dieng, who was also an NBL Next Star, previously played with the New Zealand Breakers. Landale was named NBL Grand Final MVP in 2021 while playing for Melbourne United.
“We are delighted to see the Adelaide 36ers travel to America for the NBA preseason,” said NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger. “After two years without games between NBL and NBA teams, we are thrilled to see them return as it emphasises the growing and strengthening connection between our two leagues. These preseason games are always a highlight of our calendar, and we look forward to them once again becoming an annual occurrence.”
“We are honoured to participate in the upcoming NBA preseason schedule for the third time, after previously playing the Utah Jazz in 2018 and 2019,” said 36ers owner and chairman Grant Kelley. “We always want to test ourselves against the best, and for basketball that is the NBA. This is a fantastic opportunity for the club both on and off the court and one that will open doors for our organisation.”
“We are excited to welcome NBL teams back to the NBA preseason,” said NBA Asia Vice President of Global Partnerships Francesco Suarez. “As the popularity of basketball and the NBA continue to grow in Australia, having NBL teams participate in the preseason is an important part of our year-round efforts to connect our passionate fans in Australia with their favourite teams and players.”
Seven Australian players were among the record 121 international players on opening-night rosters for the 2021-22 NBA season, and 14 players with NBL experience played in the NBA last season. NBA games and programming reach fans in Australia on ESPN and NBA League Pass, the league’s premium live game subscription service. Basketball Without Borders (BWB), the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program, has been held in Australia two times, including earlier this month at NBA Global Academy in Canberra, which serves as the NBA Academy program’s hub for top athletes from outside the U.S. Two NBA Global Academy graduates have been drafted into the NBA since the academy opened in 2018: Giddey and 2022 No. 8 overall pick Dyson Daniels (New Orleans Pelicans; Australia). The NBA and Fanatics also recently opened the league’s first brick-and-mortar NBA Store in Australia in Melbourne, with a second store in Sydney scheduled to open soon.
Fans in Australia can continue to shop for NBA merchandise online at NBAStore.com.au, the official online NBA Store in Australia. For more information about the NBA, fans in Australia can visit The Sporting News Australia and follow the NBA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For more on the NBL, fans can visit NBL.com.au.
About the NBA
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a global sports and media organisation with the mission to inspire and connect people everywhere through the power of basketball. Built around five professional sports leagues: the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League, the NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming available in 214 countries and territories in more than 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 200 countries and territories on all seven continents. NBA rosters at the start of the 2021-22 season featured a record 121 international players from 40 countries. NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass. The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 2.1 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organisations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.
About the NBL
The NBL was founded in 1979 and is the world’s best basketball league outside of the NBA. Currently composed of 10 teams (nine in Australia and one in New Zealand), game attendances, TV viewership, digital traffic and fan engagement have skyrocketed following new ownership in 2015. NBL teams are located in Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Cairns, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, and Wollongong.