Euroleague Basketball is proud to announce that two standard-bearing clubs from its competitions, Alba Berlin and, Fenerbahçe Ülker Istanbul, will face off next autumn with a powerhouse of the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs, in the NBA Global Games 2014, marking the eighth year of official, preseason games between the two organizations.
The four-time NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs, will play Alba Berlin on Wednesday, October 8 in the German capital. Three days later, on Saturday, October 11, the Spurs will cross to the Asian side of Istanbul to meet Fenerbahçe Ülker Istanbu, at the state of the art AEG-owned O2 World Berlin and Ülker Sports Arena, Istanbul respectively.
Tickets for the games in Berlin and Istanbul will go on public sale starting May 2 and will be available at www.o2world.de/nba2014 for the game at O2 World Berlin and at www.ulkersportsarena.com/nba2014 for the game at the Ülker Sports Arena in Istanbul. Fans wishing to register for 48-hour pre-sale access to tickets will be able to do so at the above sites before the public on-sale.
"After our previous successful experiences together, Euroleague Basketball and NBA continue our collaboration to offer fans spectacular basketball, and this year will be no exception," Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball President and CEO, said. "Alba Berlin and Fenerbahçe Ülker Istanbul’s devoted fans will not only enjoy outstanding games, but will be also the global ambassadors of the European basketball experience and atmosphere."
The two showdowns will bring to more than 50 the number of preseason games played between Euroleague Basketball and NBA teams since the two organizations began partnering on games in 2006.
"As the passion for the game continues to grow globally we are focused on finding unique and meaningful ways to connect with fans worldwide, and the NBA Global Games are part of those efforts," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. "Basketball brings people together across cultural and geographic lines, and these games are a great opportunity for our fans to experience the excitement of the NBA first-hand."
A multi-sports club more than 100 years old, Fenerbahçe Ülker Istanbul began winning national titles and competing in Europe's top competitions in the 1950s. It merged with Ülker, another of the most successful clubs in Turkey, in 2006, and has since won four domestic titles in seven seasons, as well as five additional national cup trophies. In the Euroleague, the club has been a persistent playoff qualifier or challenger, while giving its millions-strong fan base a state-of-the-art venue, Ülker Sports Arena, at which to enjoy basketball.
"We are very excited to be playing against such an important team as the San Antonio Spurs," Fenerbahçe Ülker Istanbul scorer Bojan Bogdanovic said. "They are a great team, with a great coach and roster. It's going to be an experience we will never forget, just like all of our games with the NBA teams. There will be a great atmosphere here at Ülker Sports Arena. I am sure our fans are also going to be very excited about this game. We are looking forward to it."
Alba Berlin for the last two decades has become synonymous with basketball excellence in Germany, starting with the country's first European trophy, the Korac Cup, in 1995. With eight domestic titles and seven more national cup trophies since then, Alba has made itself the country's basketball capital, too. For the last 14 seasons, it has played in the top two European competitions, the Euroleague and Eurocup, reaching the latter's title game in 2010. Along the way, Alba has solidified a loyal fan base who regularly fill one of the finest arenas on the continent, O2 World Berlin.
"I'm proud we are going to have the chance to play against some of the best players in the world," Alba forward Reggie Redding said. "I always watch San Antonio play because Gregg Popovich is a great coach and they have one of my favorite players on the team with Kawhi Leonard. To play against the Mavericks last season and this year against another NBA contender is a great honor for the whole ALBA Berlin franchise. I'm sure the O2 World Berlin will be rocking. Our fans will be behind us. The Spurs might be a little surprised seeing how packed and loud it will get in our arena.”
The Spurs are one of the most-decorated teams in NBA history, having amassed five appearances in the Finals since 1999 and won titles in that year, 2003, 2005, and 2007 San Antonio's current roster has many ties to Europe's top competition, led by former Euroleague Finals MVP and title-winner Manu Ginobili, another former All-Euroleague selection, Tiago Splitter, as well as former players in the competition such as Marco Belinelli, Boris Diaw and Aron Baynes.
"The entire Spurs organization, from players to coaches to staff, is thrilled to have this opportunity to travel to Germany and Turkey for the NBA Global Games." said San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker. "The fans in Europe are passionate about the game of basketball and we are excited to showcase the NBA to our European fans. In addition to the basketball experience, we all look forward to enjoying the great culture and atmosphere that Berlin and Istanbul have to offer."