The preseason games between Dallas Mavericks and the Minnesota Timberwolves will take place at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island. File / Agence France-Presse
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) on Tuesday announced that the NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2023 will feature the Dallas Mavericks and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Mavericks and Timberwolves will play two preseason games on Thursday, Oct.5 and Saturday, Oct.7 at Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
The Timberwolves were last week eliminated from the NBA playoffs in the first round by Denver after finishing eighth in the Western Conference
The Mavericks, led by Luka Doncic, missed the playoffs in controversial fashion.
Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism at Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, said: “We are excited to be preparing for the new season of The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2023 with the thrilling preseason head-to-head games between the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves.
“We look forward to welcoming the players, teams, and fans to experience the destination and strengthening our efforts to bring the very best in sporting entertainment and engagement across Abu Dhabi,” he added.
The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2023 are part of a multiyear collaboration between the NBA and DCT Abu Dhabi that last year saw the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks play the league’s first games in the Middle East.
In January, the NBA and DCT Abu Dhabi launched an expanded second season of the Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League, featuring boys’ and girls’ leagues each composed of 450 players ages 11-14 from schools across the UAE capital.
Ralph Rivera, NBA Europe and Middle East Managing Director, said: “Following the success of last year’s games and events that welcomed fans from across the globe to Abu Dhabi, we’re excited to return in the 2023 preseason with two great matchups between the Mavericks and Timberwolves and some of the best players in the world.
“Our collaboration with DCT Abu Dhabi continues to support the NBA’s goal of introducing basketball and its values to young boys and girls in the UAE and globally, and that will be the case once again through these games and the surrounding activities,” he added.
The collaboration also includes a variety of interactive fan events featuring appearances by current and former NBA players, a series of NBA FIT clinics promoting health and wellness, and an NBA 2K League exhibition event.
The collaboration sees DCT Abu Dhabi, under Experience Abu Dhabi, the tourism promotion initiative of the UAE’s capital, serve as the official tourism destination partner of the NBA in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and China.
The Mavericks currently feature four-time NBA All-Star and three-time All-NBA First Team member Doncic as well as 2016 NBA champion and eight-time NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving.
Cynt Marshall, CEO Dallas Mavericks, said: “The Dallas Mavericks certainly recognize the importance of globalizing the game of basketball. For many years, we have enjoyed international players and a growing international fan base.
“We are honored to play the game we love for NBA fans in Abu Dhabi and around the world. We appreciate all who have worked so hard to create this exciting opportunity for our team and our fans.”
The Timberwolves currently feature three-time NBA All-Star and two-time All-NBA Third Team member Karl-Anthony Towns, three-time NBA All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, and 2023 NBA All-Star Anthony Edwards.
Ethan Casson, CEO Minnesota Timberwolves said: “As the NBA continues its global expansion, the Minnesota Timberwolves are honored to be selected for The NBA Abu Dhabi Games.
“Thank you to the NBA and the host city of Abu Dhabi for allowing us the opportunity to bring fans together through the game of basketball,” added Casson.