The Indiana Pacers are expected to collect more passport stamps as souvenirs of their world travels in 2019, says Philly.com’s Keith Pompey, who is currently reporting from the NBA China Games between the Sixers and Mavericks in Shanghai and Shenzen.
As part of the NBA’s efforts to continue to grow the game globally, the Pacers and Kings will meet up overseas for the league’s first-ever preseason games in Dubai and India.
At the Jr NBA World Championships last month, which featured both boys and girls from New Delhi and Bengarulu, Adam Silver touched on the league’s desire to expand its reach in India, via the Hindustan Times:
“We had India represented here. We have an academy on the ground now. We are potentially looking to play a game in Mumbai, maybe next year. It would be a preseason game,” Silver told PTI on the sidelines.
“If we do a preseason game, we can build time and our players and their families can spend time, learn about the country’s culture,” he said.
Given that Vivek Ranadive is the league’s first Indian-born majority owner, it’s easy to understand why the Kings were selected to serve as ambassadors for the game in the world’s second-most populous country.
During the 2016-17 regular season, the Pacers played (or, more aptly put, got housed) in the NBA London Game against the Denver Nuggets, surrendering 140 points at O2 Arena. Ahead of the main event, touring groups visited Westminster Abbey, Kensington Palace and the Churchill War Rooms at the Imperial War Museum.
The team was also part of the NBA Global Games 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan and Manila, Philippines, where they participated in a basketball clinic for Special Olympic athletes.
While jet lag is arguably more of a risk now with the condensed preseason schedule, Indiana jumped out to a 16-1 record to start the 2013-14 regular season. With Paul George having contracted bronchitis on the return flight, however, the team was fortunate to have five exhibition contests left on the docket to use as a cushion for him to recover.
Currently on an 8-day domestic preseason road trip, the Pacers should be used to playing exhibition games away from home when they travel across multiple time zones to make inroads in a new market next fall.