UAE hosts Bucks, Hawks in first NBA games in the Mideast

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 11 2022 09:12 AM

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (R) of Greece in action against Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela (L) of Switzerland during the first half of their NBA basketball game at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 14 November 2021. Erik S. Lesser, EPA-EFE
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (R) of Greece in action against Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela (L) of Switzerland during the first half of their NBA basketball game at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 14 November 2021. Erik S. Lesser, EPA-EFE

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- The Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks will face off in two pre-season games in October in the United Arab Emirates, marking the first time two NBA teams have played each other in the Middle East.

The matchups will take place in the capital Abu Dhabi on October 6 and 8, officials announced on Tuesday during a press conference. 

The games are part of a multi-year agreement between the NBA and Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism. 

In 2021, the Milwaukee Bucks captured their first NBA title since 1971, with Giannis Antetokounmpo scoring 50 points -- only the seventh player in finals history with a 50-point game.

The exhibitions in Abu Dhabi will mark the third time the team has played outside of the United States after Antetokounmpo joined -- the first in 2015 in London against the New York Knicks and the second in Paris in 2020 against the Charlotte Hornets.

The NBA has a long history of staging pre-season and regular season games outside North America.

The first official overseas game took place in 1978, when the Washington Bullets traveled to Israel to play Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Since then, games have been staged throughout Europe and Asia, with Japan hosting the first overseas regular season games in 1990.

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