The NBA will host two preseason games between the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves in Abu Dhabi on October 5 and 7, 2023. The games will take place at the Etihad Arena as part of the annual Abu Dhabi Games, which started in 2022 with the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks. The Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism is partnering with the NBA to encourage basketball and its values among young children in the UAE and globally.
Ralph Rivera, the managing director of NBA Middle East and Europe, said that they are thrilled to return to Abu Dhabi after the success of last year’s games and events. The games aim to introduce basketball to young boys and girls and promote its values globally. NBA games have been broadcasted in the UAE since the 1987-88 season.
The Etihad Arena is located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, which is known for its entertainment attractions like theme parks and golf courses. The island hosts significant events such as the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Island Show Weekends, and many more. Hosting NBA preseason games on the island aligns with the Abu Dhabi government’s strategy of boosting tourism in the UAE capital by attracting high-profile sporting events.