NBA coming back to London as Miami take on New Jersey

The National Basketball Association have announced that the Miami Heat and New Jersey Nets will play a pre-season match in London on October 12.

The match will be played at the O2 Arena as part of the four-game NBA Europe Live tour that will also visit the cities of Paris, Berlin and Barcelona.

Last year a sell-out crowd filled the O2 Arena to watch the Boston Celtics defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 92-81.

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Chelsea footballer Didier Drogba (C) with basketball fans at the Boston v Minnesota exhibition game at the London O2 Arena last year

The match will be the most recent in a growing list of US-based sports to be staged in London.

Last year the National Football League played a regular season game between eventual Super Bowl champions the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins at Wembley, while the current National Hockey League season was opened with back-to-back games between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings at the O2 Arena.

NBA commissioner David Stern said he was pleased to continue the NBA's venture into the European market by staging another match in London.

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Minnesota's Craig Smith (centre) scores past Boston's Esteban Batista in their exhibition game in London in 2007

"Our third consecutive year of the NBA Europe Live is another step in our ongoing efforts to bring the excitement of the NBA to our loyal and passionate fans across Europe," said NBA commissioner David Stern.

"Through the support of our partners, including EA SPORTS, the Heat, Nets, Hornets and Wizards will compete and extend our global commitment to community service in four of Europe's most historic cities."

Miami will arrive in London having won the NBA title in 2006 under five-time championship coach Pat Riley, and guard Dwyane Wade is eagerly anticipating the tour of Europe.

"I am looking forward to expanding the game of basketball to these great cities with my team-mates," he said.

"Being a part of Team USA Basketball in the Olympics, I know the importance of taking the next step in making the NBA a global sport.

"I was glad to hear that London and Paris are involved and hopefully I will be able to visit such historic places like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower."

The New Orleans Hornets and Washington Wizards complete the quartet of teams participating in NBA Europe Live and will play their games in Berlin and Barcelona.

The NBA is televised in 46 European countries in 31 languages.

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