NBA and WNBA head to England

The NBA, the WNBA and the U.S. men’s and women’s national basketball teams are heading to Manchester, spreading the sport’s American reach in Britain beyond London.

The NBA has had preseason games in London for four straight years. The New Jersey Nets and Toronto Raptors play regular-season games there Friday and Saturday.

The league will play an exhibition game at Manchester’s MEN Arena in 2013, with the teams still to be announced.

This year, the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA is to play an unannounced opponent in a preseason game May 29. The U.S. men’s and women’s national teams will play in Global Community Cup games in July 2012, days before the opening ceremony of the London Games. Both teams won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“This comprehensive schedule of premier basketball events will help grow the sport for years to come,” NBA Europe senior vice president Sophie Goldschmidt said. “This partnership shows our ongoing commitment to deepen basketball’s footprint in the country.”

For the WNBA, this is only the second time it will play internationally following a game in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2004. The Dream won the Eastern Conference championship in 2010 but lost to the Seattle Storm in the finals.

“This will be our second preseason game and five days later we open our campaign,” Dream coach Marynell Meadors said. “It will prepare us for travel. It will prepare us for playing someone different. We will learn something from it.”

*courtesy of the Associated Press

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